Leadership in the midst of change and uncertainty


It came as a surprise. While it took me more than a year to revamp, update, upgrade, and redesign the Level Up Leadership training program, I will finally run it as a virtual master class this week. We were expecting only a handful of participants would enroll and attend, but a surprising number of participants have registered.

To the team’s surprise and mine, we may have to limit the rest of the interested participants and schedule them for the next run a few months later.

The question now is, why would the program resonate? What is it about the situation today that necessitates more profound leadership training? I have interviewed people, I have done the research, and these are the probable reasons.

Many leaders today are running on empty. Leaders today are engaged in multiple battles, and many of the skills they used to administer may not work effectively in today’s new environment. In my research and interviews, these are the haunting questions and challenges leaders face today.

See if you can identify with them.

Let us keep them anonymous to respect their privacy:

Leader A: “I know my responsibility now with my people is to keep them safe and healthy. I have to take care of them. Times are challenging and dangerous. I have to take care of my family too. Work and family now converge in my home. Who can take care of me then?”

Leader B: “I have made it clear, and the team and I know that this world has changed. But unlike before, the targets now are hardly defined. It is like shooting at a moving target. Setting goals and building a team today to reach goals for the immediate future, in a culture that has not fully materialized yet, can be tiring and confusing. What happens now if we miss? Can we change direction midway? Should we be playing catch up all the time? These thoughts keep me up at night.”

Leader C: “I am not just ‘Zoom fatigued,’ I am now ‘decision fatigued.’” There are many decisions to make and it is so difficult to figure out what the right decision is.”

Leader D: “It’s like our entire company is on pause. It’s like we are waiting for what we do not know because our leaders are not telling us. Are we going to close? Are we being bought? Are we going to be told to let our people go? This is so stressful.”

Leader E: “My team is stressed out and it seems like they would rather sit back and let me do all the work.”

And this is the most common response and concern I hear, even from huge organizations that pay their people well and provide them with many benefits:

Leader F: “I have lost good people in my team. Without any viable explanation and even though they know that jobs are scarce, they resign and quit!”

And now we face the increased fear of virus spikes and the enforced lockdowns that will have a devastating effect on the already battered economy; how are leaders supposed to handle the situation? How will leaders make their teams change, adapt, and be pivot-ready, expecting more changes to come? Here are a few thoughts:

Being “change-ready” does not mean:

We have all the answers.

We can predict what will happen.

We can make perfect and accurate decisions.

We can go and do it alone as a leader without the help and collaboration with others.

Leaders have to be comfortable receiving and giving tentative answers and taking a few confident steps forward. You also have to quickly reassess, evaluate, make adjustments very much akin to responsible experimenting, innovating, and discovering compared to being stuck and waiting for the times and conditions to improve. Pretty soon, leaders will start learning what works and what does not, and the probable results will be:

The team will learn how to work together.

Leaders will know how to manage and navigate around obstacles.

Together with the team, the leader will be trained to be more open, fluid, curious, and open to innovation initiatives.

The leadership methods may change drastically, but the mission remains the same. Underneath this, there are many skills set that should be made aware of and must be developed. Leadership is all about people and leading is all about relentless learning.



(Francis Kong’s highly acclaimed Level Up Leadership Master Class Online will run from April 14 and 15. Develop leadership skills that translate into personal, career, and business growth in the current reality and the post-COVID world. For inquiries and reservations, connect with April at +63928-559-1798 or and for more information, visit www.levelupleadership.ph)

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with