This is part 3 of a 3-part blog revisiting Towards Safer Uncertainty. In the first 70 days of lockdown I posted 15 articles on building resilience and navigating:
A lack of control
This still seems relevant. Here’s a guide to the series
It feels like it’s time to share some reflections and add to the story.
Part 1: A recap on the Concepts and framework
Part 2: How Towards Safer Uncertainty helps describeNext tier leadership
Part 3: Observations from 2020
TSU is a practice
At the time of writing, the preceding 70 days had a focus on Towards Safer Uncertainty. What stands out to me is that Towards Safer Uncertainty is a practice.
It’s an aspirational way of being that is difficult to maintain. In the same way as mindfulness is difficult to maintain. It’s a game of hide and seek between knowing what is real and what is illusory. It’s about noticing how the illusory world triggers the need for denying and controlling. We have it, and then we lose it.
I have had a love-hate relationship with lockdown, but mostly love. It has been the gift of deepening self-awareness. An opportunity to take stock, and getting clearer on preferred ways of being in the future. It has also been the pain of noticing all my addictions and habitual patterns of defence and escape. This is a gift too.
The temptation for control is correlated to the size of the challenge you are going through. The bigger the challenge the more likely your desire for certainty.
In my work as a leadership developer I hold psychological safety as paramount. It is the cornerstone of progress and performance for leaders and teams. This is true in life and being human as well. When people feel safe with each other wonderful things occur.
This doesn’t mean maintaining harmony over agitation. Debate and disagreement often lead to creativity, innovation and best solutions. When you have trust and psychological safety, these types of conversation are easier.
Our communities, organisations and planet seem to be asking for a shift. This shift requires next tier leaders who have made the transition from independence and competition, to inter-dependence and collaboration. Towards Safer Uncertainty describes attributes of such leaders.
Quantum theory explains that uncertainty is part of the fabric of the universe (Heisenberg Principle). It also explains that every act of observation has an impact (Observer Effect). At our current stage of human development, Quantum Theory is part of a group of things we can’t see but believe to be true. A little (or a lot) like faith.
What if we create our own realities through what we believe? If this were true, it matters what you think about and how you engage with your reality. The implication for leadership (and life) is profound.
People development matters more than ever. Next tier leadership requires expansive knowledge, high self-awareness and consciousness. Leaders need help and guidance on that journey.
It takes humility, courage and curiosity to be open and challenge-able. It takes humility, courage and curiosity to move Towards Safer Uncertainty.
Towards Safer Uncertainty describes the practice of being human, and of a human being. Being human is full of vulnerability so we seek safety. Sometimes we confuse being certain with being safe, and the game of hide and seek continues.
When we are a Human being, we are in the dance of life. We are alive, present, and noticing. We embrace life and uncertainty as a teacher and a guide.
A version of the full article was published in issue three of The Learning Scientist magazine.
This is a free publication with some great content in it. You can sign up here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would benefit from some help with developing your safer uncertainty practice, get in touch.
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Photo by Tuệ Nguyễn on Unsplash