BY JIM BOUCHARD
If there is one thing that’s certain for credit union leaders it’s that they will encounter uncertainty. It’s okay to view uncertain situations as a challenge, but don’t allow them to breed fear and degrade your organization. These courageous touch points will help keep your CU out of the fear zone.
One of the defining strategies we focus on in the book “The Sensei Leader” is: “Be flexible, adaptable and comfortable with uncertainty.”
The mark of an effective leader is the ability to deal with uncertainty. For aspiring leaders, your ability to deal with uncertainty is an important factor that can determine your current and future opportunities.
Credit union people all over the country tell me that this (handling uncertainty) is one of their greatest trials. Challenges like rapidly changing regulation, external competition, the need to swiftly develop new leaders and quickly evolving cultures make uncertainty an ever-present problem.
The issue is that as our need to deal with uncertainty becomes ever more important, our ability to do so is in grave danger!
Let’s keep this simple. Without delving into to a complicated psychological explanation, suffice it to say that we all face uncertainty – and uncertainty breeds fear.
Fear in turn stifles innovation and creativity. Fear leads to crippling inertia, jealousy, lack of communication and any number of other caustic agents that degrade an organization’s health.
The antidote to fear is courage. We spend a great deal of time in our workshops discussing courage. (For the sake of time, I’ll keep this short.) Courage is certainly not the absence of fear. The absence of fear is stupidity!
Courage is your ability to face your fear and do what needs doing anyway.
Fear is, in fact, an essential survival mechanism. Fear is a perfectly rational response to uncertainty. Fear is what keeps us from doing foolish things when the outcome is not clear. But we can’t let fear keep us from taking calculated risks that are necessary to progress and from persevering through any period of extreme uncertainty.