What To Do When What’s Next Is Uncertain?

Uncertainty, What Now?Picture This…

Your organization has announced an imminent restructuring though the details will be released in a few months. There is a vast amount of speculation but no definitive details.

The uncertainty is creating pressure for most people while they wonder if they will have a position in the restructured organization. Recent hires are wondering if it’s better to go than stay. Long term employees, are wondering if their results will ensure them a position.

Uncertainty immobilizes some and inspires others. Management is busy fielding questions for which they don’t have answers.

Three things a manager can do during times like these?

  1. Offer reassurance:  Remind employees of their long term aspirations and what behaviors the company culture values. Pay attention to new hires so they don’t become a retention risk. Think about it, if that new hire bolts, you go thru the recruitment process all over again.
  1. Increase feedback & support:  Share feedback about what employees are doing right. A conversation can go a long way towards keeping an employee focused for a few days. Extend an offer to have a discussion when they find themselves struggling. They may not tap into your support but will appreciate you for offering it.
  1. Relationships: Be mindful of strengthening relationships with reports and peers. Positions come and go, and people change jobs. However, relationships can be enduring if you invest the time and effort. Think through what you want to be remembered for as a leader.

Three things an employee can do during times like these?

  1. Reflect on how ambiguity and uncertainty affects you. Does it leave you walking on eggshells or purposeful? What is going on in your life that makes a change in employment risky? If you recently purchased a house, had a new baby arrive or have an aging parent that needs your help any of these could change your behavior.
  1. Focus on what you want remembered for during difficult times. Others are forming impressions of you whenever you have a conversation, make a presentation, or participate in a meeting update. Create a mindset that is aligned with your career goals. Let the adage that ‘it’s not what happens to you but how you handle what happens to you’ guide your mindset.
  1. Get informed about employment law. What are the different options?  What are the tips on what to do and not do? Too often employees walk into a termination meeting uninformed. While the people running the meeting are well informed. Checking with a lawyer is not going to label you as difficult. Why find out later that you left options on the table? Never sign anything until you have spoken to a lawyer. All you want is a fair deal. Plus what you learn will be valuable whenever you move into a management role in future.

Recommended resource: Check out Howard Leavitt www.levittgrosman.com/. Howard does a talk show on Sunday afternoons at 4 pm on www.newstalk1010.com/. It is fascinating to hear common misconceptions or how a simple sequence of events can change an outcome.

A wise strategy would be to create a plan for either staying or leaving. The more informed you are, the better. Hoping for the best is not as effective as planning for what happens. Envisioning how the various scenarios may play out equips you to clearly see what is within or outside your control.

Uncertainty is not pleasant. However like change it is here to stay. Strengthen how you handle situations, and you will be building valuable skill sets.

How did you handle an uncertain situation?

What did you learn about yourself in the process?

Perhaps you have uncertainty issues at your workplace you would like to handle differently. On Wednesday evenings at 9 pm ET, I coach participants through these situations. If you would like to join the call please optin through this link: 


Attribution: Deposit Photos


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