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Leading in a VUCA world

The Covid-19 pandemic has rapidly changed the business environment across the world and as a result, has impacted businesses in far-reaching ways. The current pandemic has presented businesses and leaders with some of the biggest challenges in living memory, in a vast range of different industries.

What is VUCA?

VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. This perfectly sums up the business environment in the age of Covid-19. Old inflexible ways of thinking are no use in a world where rules are constantly in flux and new ways of thinking are required. Read on for some leadership tips to help you lead your team in a VUCA world.

Know Yourself

To lead a team in a VUCA world, it’s vitally important that you understand your signature leadership strengths in order to leverage them and to also be consciously aware of areas that need development. These development areas may suddenly become more important, so being aware of them can help you to address them quickly or help you to identify team members with those complementary skills.


This may seem obvious but it’s always worth reminding yourself that in a world that is constantly changing, your best response is to change with it. This is not always comfortable and in a leadership context, this may mean adapting your style and approach in a VUCA environment to get the best out of your resources and drive the desired results.

Be Authentic

Being authentic and having open, honest relationships with your team will help you to establish yourself as a credible leader. Earning trust in a leadership role is key to improving individual and team performance and is vital when a change needs to happen quickly.

Work Collaboratively

Bringing people together out of their silos is vital in ‘joining up’ your business’s response to an external challenge. In a VUCA world, it’s this harnessing of collective intelligence across the business that will help you to drive business results regardless of organisational boundaries.

Influence, Influence, Influence

To succeed and thrive in volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environments, think of ways in which you can broaden your influence. This will change for different people but could include providing opportunities for quick wins, investing in the success of others, building people up, and encouraging autonomy. This leads us to the final leadership tip.

Build Self Reliance within Teams

In a VUCA world, building self-reliance within teams and enabling others to achieve success is vital. You should aim to inspire others to become more self-reliant and work towards shared visions and organisational objectives. When businesses need to adapt quickly to changes or challenges such as Covid-19, autonomy for team members helps these changes to happen quickly and efficiently.

If you would like to find out more about how to sharpen your leadership skills for a VUCA environment including models and techniques to help with all of the above, click here for details of our digitally-delivered course, ‘Leading in a VUCA world’.