Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about leadership. It’s kind of a slippery little concept, isn’t it? It’s hard to define, and the granular details differ for everybody. But when we’ve seen it (or not seen it!) we know.
I’m fortunate to work with some fantastic people. Individually they know when to step up, when to use a guiding hand, and when to rely on each other to fill in gaps. Collectively they bring an energy and skill set that never ceases to amaze. (Lifting some lyrics from a Ne-Yo song –>) While we are a movement by ourselves, we’re a force when we’re together.
When I think about what is happening all around us, I think about an article I read by Nathan Furr, Kyle Nel and Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy in Harvard Business Review. In it, the concept of “negative capability” is explored as a way that leaders can navigate the chaos brought by new and unfamiliar situations.
In the modern context, negative capability can be thought of as the ability to be comfortable with uncertainty, even to entertain it, rather than to become so anxious by its presence that you have to prematurely race to a more certain, yet suboptimal, conclusion. Whereas many people cannot stand the fuzziness of uncertainty, those who demonstrate negative capabilities can facilitate the exploration of new terrain and the discovery of an adjacent possible opportunity.
It’s a fitting time for us all to don our “Chaos Pilot” gear and get comfortable with the exciting opportunities for innovation that bubble up during difficult times. Let’s continue to support one another as we navigate the new normal. It’s a time to nourish our communications, break down barriers, seek clarity, and above all else, share our light.
I don’t know about you guys, but I am excited to see how friends, coworkers, and neighbors in communities across the globe work to build coalitions, support each other, and bring joy in these uncertain times. Onward to new terrain!!