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Leading in Uncertainty: Using the VUCA Approach (TRN4-J04)


This job aid provides tips for leading in times of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA).

Published: June 8, 2020
Type: Job aid

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Leading in Uncertainty: Using the VUCA Approach

Use the VUCA antidote to manage uncertainty, activate remote teams and cultivate agility.

The term VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity) was coined in the United States in the 1990s to describe the world after the Cold War.

VUCA situations call upon leaders to lead in ways that may be unfamiliar. Add to this the challenges of working remotely, and it's easy to understand how engagement, productivity, clarity and meaningful connections can erode.

Developing leadership competencies, like accountability, integrity, innovation and resiliency, is still important. But you don't need to be a certified coach to build trust and acceptance, listen generously, communicate transparently and help team members plan and set goals.

Here's how to use the VUCA antidote Footnote * with remote teams to:

  • develop the competencies and increase the self-confidence of team members
  • increase your rate of success
  • increase team motivation and productivity
  • provide opportunities to share knowledge, skills and experiences

From VUCA: (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity) to VUCA antidote


  • Align activities towards a larger purpose
  • Motivate team members to overcome obstacles
  • Provide structure that allows team members to be proactive
  • Clarify desired behaviours


  • Slow down, observe, ask questions and listen deeply
  • Know the strengths of your team members and work with them to find solutions
  • Find out what your team needs to help them perform better and meet your expectations


  • Communicate your vision
  • Focus on gathering the information you need to make good decisions


  • Adapt quickly as needed
  • Understand the communication needs at each level
  • Formulate messages according to these needs

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