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How to Lead For Yourself in Uncertain Times

Surveys show that this generation is feeling uncertain and insecure. They are earning less and are more reluctant to job-hop compared with 40 years ago. Yet, they want their job to be meaningful and to feel empowered. Uncertainty is a given in the world of work from Brexit to the fear of job automation. The rapidly changing political, economic, and technological environments exacerbate things. Young professionals can face frustration during their early career to implement and ensure people hear their voice. Poor managers are still a reason why people leave, especially in strongly hierarchical organisations. How can you lead for yourself despite these conflicting pressures?

Control what you can

Don’t bash your head against a brick wall. New systems and processes will get introduced in your organisation that you may not agree with. Last week’s  plan will sometimes get changed the following week. So, identify where you have some control. The first place to look is within yourself. What is your current attitude to the issue in front of you? Challenge your default position and look at it from another viewpoint or step into someone else’s shoes. Is this a battle worth fighting or will it deplete your energy too much so you get distracted and your performance and wellbeing suffer? What and who are within your sphere of influence? For example, a conversation with a relevant decision-maker or sharing your concerns with a trusted mentor.

Engage more widely

Get out and talk to people beyond your immediate area if you don’t feel included or can’t see what’s happening. It’s easy to hide behind the concern of bothering busy people. However, test your assumptions. You will change perceptions of you through being curious and showing interest. Some people will ignore you and others will be more open. But then you will know the warm relationships to nurture. One way is to offer help and support to relieve other people’s stressful jobs.

Be assertive

Young people aspire to become leaders but it’s currently the luck of the draw whether they get the necessary chances to learn how. Anne Francke, Chief Executive, Chartered Management Institute

A lack of confidence from uncertainty and insecurity may inhibit you from taking the initiative. The dangers are showing your dissatisfaction implicitly (passive-aggressive) or overtly without skill (aggressive). Be assertive – where you state your needs clearly and calmly (and why) AND seek to satisfy the needs of the other person. Lead for yourself – where you do the right thing and make something happen that wouldn’t occur without your initiative.

One way to take control, engage and be assertive is through continuous personal and professional development. Check out my online school, Career Navigating for Young Professionals, today and lead for yourself.

David Shindler

David Shindler

David Shindler is founder of the Employability Hub online learning centre, Director of Learning to Leap and widely respected in the industry as an employability expert. David understands the ‘soft’ skills, attitudes and behaviours needed by employers and can help people improve them to get the job they want.

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