Lush green rice fields ready to be harvested were being rampaged by the rats. With no predatory cats in the village, the population of the rodents were on the rise. The humans were in trouble and unable to come out of this situation.
Down in the burrows a healthy rat couple while having dinner were discussing about how beautiful the life was and how their kids would grow up in such a great village full of food and no danger to life. Gazing each other they went to sleep, little did they know they would wake up to the sound of — United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force.
Shaken up by the sound they ran out and saw in terror, the air force flights were parachuting cats into the village. That day 23 ravaging cats were parachuted into the village and the life of the rodents turned upside down!
Straits Times and the Singapore Free Press of March 17, 1960 reported that 23 cats “expertly packed in wicker baskets” were airlifted and parachuted into Bario via an RAF.
This story from the rodent perspective accurately describes VUCA. It was complete chaos, they did not know what to do, everyone was running for their life as it was so volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.
Traditional Leadership Qualities
Mahatma Gandhi IS the most influential leader of all times for me as an Indian, he took on the mighty “Great Britain” and rallied billions of people to freedom.
Let's look at the attributes of great leaders who have shown us traditionally how to lead and be successful in our respective agenda.
- Exampling — Leading by example with right values & Competencies
- Protecting — Support the team for right values, Intent even when they make mistakes
- Empathizing — Be able to support employees, customers or anyone through thick and thin
- Visioning — The ability to see the invisible, clarity of thought for creating a roadmap, be able to plan in order to achieve the vision
- Empowering — Constructively delegate, set right expectations, be able to get high quality result and help succeed
- Building — Developing people for situation and for growth, creating HOPE, asking the right questions
- Understanding — Helping people understand how you operate, understanding their strength and motivators
- Agility — To be able to quickly pivot from any situation.
What are the key qualities to thrive in VUCA world?
Intentionally I did not spend more time on the above section as I quickly wanted you to reach here! The point of this article is to share the — Top three, most important qualities a leader should have to be successful in VUCA world.
By definition there is Chaos in VUCA world, time is less and there in no certainty of what’s coming next. Among the qualities that I have shared above, I believe the following three are the most important quality one should have to be successful in VUCA world.
There is a clear difference in dreaming and visioning, however people often get confused, by visioning I mean the ability of not just seeing the invisible but be able to see it so clearly that it becomes real and motivates you to outline the strategic plan to achieve those goals and be able to equip and empower each member of the team to take actions at all levels of the organization.
Satya Nadella, who “Hit Refresh” with his bold vision and steered Microsoft from permanent licensing model to a subscription based services model and became, again one of the top leaders in technology.
Understand and share the feeling of another, In this VUCA world every one is hit. Hence its clearly the most important quality. While you chase the goal, you always remember there are other with you and while you have a first hand understanding of your own pain and agony, you also need to be able to understand and support people and be flexible about their situation and requests.
It’s easy to get caught up in chores and neglect how our work impact others, however, when you take others feeling and perspective into account to improve your work, there becomes an emotional connection which build trust and loyalty.
I am blessed to be part of an organization where my leaders are going extra mile to make us feel special.
Quick is the word! The ability to think and understand quickly. If we know something is not working, not moving in the right direction then we should quickly pivot. Take another route, do something else, this will only come when you have your eyes and ears open and be receptive to change.
As they say, “Fail fast, learn faster”
This comes from having the growth mindset, there is no failure it's always a learning and as we go we make progress and finally success is achieved.
In an uncertain, unpredictable world where clarity is rare, being a Visionary, empathetic and agile is key! Because this will help you prepare for the worst and along with humility and agility you can conquer the world.