TODAY’S turbulent business environment demands that individuals and organisations perform at higher levels and respond with greater speed than at any time in the past.

Organisational leaders and team members alike must place new emphasis on learning and harnessing individual and collective creativity.

The challenging global environment is increasing the degree of complexity for organisations operating anywhere in the world.

With this arises the need for a different kind of inquiry in the organisation. The requirement for greater openness to uncertainty will challenge the sense of purpose, identity and self-efficacy of leaders and the people working for them.

Restore confidence

In today’s unpredictable business environment, clear leadership is needed more than ever.

To be a successful leader, you need the right set of skills and, in particular, a process approach to your task of steering a team or your organisation.

An uncertain outlook brings with it the higher possibility of having to deal with turbulence in the workplace as well.

Today’s leaders have the tough job of restoring confidence in and respect for leadership and business in the face of a recessionary global economy and in a climate of cynicism and mistrust.

They are being called upon to set an example and to show the organisations and people they lead the way forward.

Practise self-reflection and emotional mastery

A successful leader ensures that his people are aligned with the organisation by engaging them effectively.

He does this by generating awareness and promoting understanding of the differences between individuals in the way they prefer to work and the way they make decisions or manage relationships.

By creating a common understanding and a common sense of purpose, a shared commitment to action evolves.

Perhaps the most important thing a leader can do when there is turbulence is to be calm and maintain a sense of optimism. He must have the discipline and focus to remain steady within himself, and the emotional maturity to calm followers and keep the organisation functioning effectively when the ride gets bumpy.

Engage your employees

To be a successful leader, you must set a clear, compelling direction that empowers your employees.

You hired these employees. Use their abilities and talents to engage in creating a positive future for your company.

Communicate openly and honestly. Keep your employees informed and updated, even if the news is not always good.

Continue to focus on growth and development. Provide your employees with opportunities to grow and develop. It does not have to cost you a lot of money. For instance, allow them to work on projects that will expand their skills or cross-train in other departments to expand their knowledge.

Recognise and reward high performance. Find creative ways to reward your top performers. Even if you do not have the budget for bonuses and perks, there are simple things you can do to let your employees know you appreciate them.

Look to the future

Effective leadership behaviours will provide a sense of psychological safety and emotional containment in organisations undergoing great uncertainty, instability and changes that are often painful.

Leaders can deal honestly with their people, convey genuine empathy and create a powerful sense of hope in the future.

Leaders who achieve this will help employees deal more effectively with difficult experiences and inspire tremendous loyalty and trust.