What Is the Pathway Forward From a VUCA Challenge


The level of anxiety we face worldwide is extreme and escalating due to a confluence of many complex issues. As a leader, you are the one people look to for clear direction, encouragement, and stability. But often, it isn't easy to navigate a successful path forward. And now, the unrelenting anxiety we experience personally and as a community is even more unsettling in our post-COVID world.


The depth and context of our challenges are so intense that it merits the label - VUCA Challenge.

Here is what that means:
Volatility- Fast, unpredictable change without clear patterns or trends.
Uncertainty – Frequent disruptive changes where the past is not a good predictor of the future.
Complexity – Multiple, complex, intertwined technological, societal, geo-political, and ecological transitions and evolutions.
Ambiguity – Little clarity on what is real or true, and challenging to predict the impact of actions or initiatives.

What is the impact of elevated anxiety on my leadership?

The impact of our elevated anxiety and unsettled sense of well-being is significant to us personally and collectively. As leaders, there are three key factors to consider.

  1. There is an inverse relationship between anxiety and cognition — The more anxious we become, the less clearly and creatively we think and effectively lead.
  2. Anxiety is contagious, and a leader’s anxiety is the most contagious of all.
  3. When it becomes chronic, anxiety erodes our health and our well-being.

What can be done? What is the pathway forward?

Begin with a focus on your own functioning. It is what you can control. Figure out how to bring down the level of reactivity and associated reactive behaviors within yourself first. Taking this step will have a significant impact on those you lead and on those that you love.

At the end of each day, ask yourself:

  • What reactive behaviors did I see in myself today?
  • What reactive behaviors did I see in others?
  • What reactive behaviors did I see in my organization, family, team, etc.?
Jim Moyer

Jim Moyer
To learn more about Over and Under-functioning in the relationship system, contact Jim at jimm@resilientleadershipdevelopment.com.