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Dealing with Uncertainty -- Question & Answer Listing  
Viewing 1-7 of 7 Knowledge Entries
Question / Answer

Question:
How do strategic leaders manage external forces that affect their organization?

Answer:
There are many skills and techniques that strategic leaders use to manage external forces affecting their organization. One of the most important things they do is obtain as much information as possible about external situations or forces. Timely and relevant information, access to appropriate resources, and strong leadership help them and prepare for (or face) challenges that develop from these outside influences.

Question:
How do strategic leaders manage risk?

Answer:
As with external forces, strategic leaders plan for uncertainty and risk-taking by arming themselves with as much information as possible about the situation at hand. Most strategic leaders recognize that they may never have all the information they would like to have prior to making a decision. Their integrity, values, maturity, and experience allow them to tolerate this ambiguity, using the tools and information they have at hand to analyze the situation and make necessary decisions. Strategic leaders develop a balance between responsibility and risk-taking and, when appropriate, take reasonable risk.

Question:
How do you deal with uncertainty in decision-making?

Answer:
There are many different things you can do to deal with uncertainty in decision-making. Many of them depend on the type of decision you are trying to make. For example, you may be able to use some form of statistical analysis to cope with uncertainty. In many cases, you may need to rely on your own instincts. Gather facts (and figures, if numerical or financial information apply) about the problem at hand and enlist the help of other subject matter experts, if possible. Use the information you have available to you, along with your own experience to make decisions when dealing with uncertainty. Refer to some of the other resources listed for more information about dealing with uncertainty.

Question:
How much interaction with one’s superiors should a leader have when making risky decisions?

Answer:
When faced with risky decisions, a leader should rely on his/her own knowledge, experience, and judgment – unless the decision is out of his/her area of responsibility. Seeking clarification or advice from one’s superiors or other subject matter experts is appropriate. However, leaders are expected to make tough decisions. As noted in Chapter 5 of FM 22-100: Direct Leadership Actions, “Ask only for decisions that fall outside your scope of authority—not those you want to avoid. Forward only problems you can’t fix—not those whose solutions are just difficult. Ask for advice from others with more experience or seek clarification when you don’t understand what’s required. Do all that and exercise disciplined initiative within your boss’s intent.”

Question:
What characteristics should leaders exhibit in times of crises?

Answer:
Effective leadership is important at all times, but it is vital in times of crisis. In many cases, decisions must be made quickly with little time for reflection or group involvement. Leaders should project an air of confidence and competence, as group members are most likely affected by the crisis and look to leaders for reassurance and direction. Leaders should also reassure the organization by modeling appropriate self-control and stability during crises. This is also a time when good communication skills are important. Learn more about crisis management through the resources listed.

Question:
What is meant by "second and third order effects" of decisions?

Answer:
Second and third order effects of decisions refer to the rippling impact that some decisions have on others’ budgets, personnel, time or resources, etc., often indirectly. Leaders faced with these types of highly consequential decisions should identify a common purpose (and gain) for the others affected by the decision to enable them to obtain their acceptance and shared commitment.

Question:
Why is it important for a leader to maintain visibility in an organization during times of uncertainty?

Answer:
It is important for a leader to maintain visibility in an organization during times of uncertainty to provide reassurance to the rest of the members. Strong leaders are critical during turbulent times. Their constituents crave direction and encouragement from them and it is important for them to be accessible. People want to be reassured that even if their organization has had a setback, their leader is on top of the crisis. Learn more about effective leadership from the resources listed.
Viewing 1-7 of 7 Knowledge Entries

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