Some of the clients I work with share traits that you might recognise in yourself. They tend to overthink things, they over plan, they agonise over detail, particularly when it comes to stepping out of their comfort zone. These same people tend to find themselves frequently disappointed, because no matter how carefully they plan, or think through possible scenarios, things never quite meet their expectations.
This habit of overanalysing whether “yes” is the right answer or not can get you stuck in a highly controllable, highly predictable space of ‘safe certainty’, chugging along, solidly.
In a leadership context, this puts you in an environment where protocols, procedures, policies and tradition take centre stage. Little ever changes, opportunities are often missed and crucially colleagues don’t feel able to offer ideas, try new things or take any risks. This is an emotionally disconnected workplace where people complete tasks with little buy-in or satisfaction, whilst scanning the recruitment pages and situations vacant ads.
If you recognise any of this, then its time for you to shift yourself into the more adventurous space of ‘safe uncertainty’, where you allow just enough structure, control and planning to mitigate the greatest risks, whilst allowing enough freedom, movement and spontaneity to welcome new opportunities. In a leadership context this means developing a culture where colleagues are encouraged to try new approaches, within negotiated parameters, and if they don’t work, to embrace the learning from the experience and try something else.
Let go. Stop saying “No”. Stop over analysing and step out of the controlled space. Be more spontaneous, try something new. Experiment by taking small steps that stretch your leadership edge. These ‘safe to fail’ experiments can loosen up your organisation by enabling teams already good at predicting and planning to become skilful at adapting and improvising. By stretching their boundaries and challenging their creativity you will put your team in a strong position to flex and respond to new challenges as they present.
Finding your own unique place of safe uncertainty helps you to say “yes” more often and opens your way to new possibilities.
Explore this thinking with your leadership coach, or contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to see how we can help.