Why Creating Certainty for their People must be Top Priority for Every CEO

Why Creating Certainty for their People must be Top Priority for Every CEO

Yesterday I was working with a large group of leaders who were sharing some of the wins they have had recently, and also some of the challenges that they are continuing to experience. One of the consistent themes was there is such a lack of certainty in so many different aspects of their business. And this lack of certainty is really impacting their people and how they are showing up every day in their work. Rather than being focused and intent on their work, their people are tending to put energy and focus and effort into trying to gain certainty in an uncertain world.

As you will know, we continue to operate in a state of flux as we come out of the pandemic and try to determine what our new normal is.  As we try to determine what our business will look like, how we support our people, how we work with our clients, to consolidate our position in the market, and so many other factors. People, your people, are looking for certainty in this uncertain time. When they do not have certainty, your people will put focus on trying to gain certainty.

Some of the other things that may be impacted by this, or you might notice as symptoms of this uncertainty, are people do not seem to be as productive or efficient and effective as they might have been in the past. Maybe they have higher levels of stress or distress. There might be more workplace gossip going on as people speculate about the future.

Some people are finding it challenging to engage and participate in the ongoing changes that are required to keep their organisation relevant and sustainable. And because they are not engaged, it may seem like they are resisting the change or working against it.

All of this can make it challenging to lead.

So I thought today I would share a couple of simple opportunities for leaders to create a level of certainty for their people in an uncertain world. To create a solid foundation, or an anchor, for your people so that they do feel like there is something that they can hold onto and know that it will be there for them.

This certainty is your leadership. You being their leader.

There are two things that I want to focus on here.


1. The first is around the visibility of your leadership.

You may be working very hard, advocating for your people, being strategic and making the right decisions, and yet your people may not know it. If your people are not aware of this, if they do not see evidence of this, if they do not see you from time to time, if they do not hear from you, then they do not know you are being their leader. You need to make your leadership visible to them. So they can trust in it.

Model-Visible Leadership Spectrum

2. The second aspect, is around communication and messaging.

What I am noticing is there is a fear amongst leaders that they are over communicating. Yet in times of uncertainty, you need to communicate more than you think you do so people really do get the message. You need to be good and consistent about giving the message. Sharing the right message, consistently. Then ensuring the people around you also share aligned messages with consistency. And you need to ensure you offer your message in multiple ways through multiple channels because everyone receives their messages differently.

Model-Message and Delivery

These two keys begin to give people a sense of certainty in your leadership, that you are being really clear about what is happening through your messaging, and making your own leadership visible so people know you are there to lead them.

Together, using these two ideas you create opportunity to develop certainty for your people, which then flows into how people show up at work. When they have something solid to hold onto, that they are certain about, then it offers people a sense of comfort and confidence. An opportunity for them to stop putting their energy and focus into the uncertainty and rather to be able to focus on the things that matter in terms of their role and how they can contribute. This means their energy is now going into the things that matter and will make a difference to the future for you all.


I’d love to know your thoughts.

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