Hey Leaders – Be Comfortable with Ambiguity #BCSLearns

As a leader (and a parent) I want to be careful that I don’t solve problems for the educators I serve (or the children I “parent”).  Rather, I want to pose questions to them so that they can think through their problems and come up with alternate solutions.  It’s a collaborative model, not an expert model; whether I am a principal or a parent.  Imagine allowing those we lead to face “highly ambiguous challenges [so they] develop a set of tools that prepare them for the uncertainties they will increasingly encounter” in the this exceedingly complex world of ours. This is where creativity and innovation lie!  In the article from Harvard Business Review called Grooming Leaders to Handle Ambiguity, Scott Anthony proposes just that – “Shifting from size-matters to ambiguity-matters development for those we serve.  Furthermore, in a book called Simple Habits for Complex Times: Powerful Practices for Leaders the authors suggest that leaders should learn to love ambiguity.  I think back to, a mentor of mine, Dr. Bob Maxfield’s advice to me as he appointed me to my first “principalship”, “Be comfortable with ambiguity.” Advice I have always remembered and for which I am enormously thankful.

Let me close with yet another notion out there that is used to describe our world that supports the importance of us being comfortable with ambiguity – VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous).  The video called “Neuroscience for Leaders in a VUCA World” shares “the future hallmarks of effective and engaging leadership”…

  • Building cognitive strength
  • Improving emotional res
  • Understanding how to release insight and creativity
  • Sense-making
  • Patience
  • Active social network
  • Insatiable curiosity

Check out the 2-minute video as we learn to lead our own lives as individuals, each other and our students in this VUCA world.


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