VUCA Leadership today: how to identify great VUCA Leaders

VUCA leadership is paramount, with the world facing an uncertain future today.

The VUCA acronym (Volatile, Uncertain Complex, Ambiguous) has been around since 1987. It was the US Army War College’s response to the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s.

No one was forecasting Covid-19, even in January 2020.

Without a doubt, it has been the most disruptive event in our lifetimes. It has devastated:

  • countries,
  • economies,
  • businesses,
  • individuals,
  • families, and
  • communities.

But it is likely there may be other disruptions waiting in the wings that, as yet, we know nothing about.

What does VUCA leadership and uncertainty mean for organisations?

The BIG questions for organisations are:

  • which elements will affect you,
  • to what degree, and
  • how will a combination of consecutive catastrophic disruptions alter the change.

Despite the deliberations of many so-called thought leaders and experts, the truthful answer is no one actually knows what’s going to happen in the future!

What you can rely on, though, is that there will be significant change. VUCA leaders in your organisation means the capability of anticipating, responding and reacting to change when it happens in turn, reacting again and again when it changes again (and again).




What makes an effective VUCA leader?

Effective VUCA leadership is demonstrated by those who can give their company more than an abundance of skills and experience. Traits of VUCA leaders are that they can:

  • develop and communicate a clear and motivating vision, based on an understanding of the constantly changing economic environment, and
  • apply it through quick decisions, well-adapted to ever-changing conditions.

In addition to skills learned for a role, experience, and qualifications gained, there is no substitute for the enthusiasm, motivation and vision these great leaders possess. VUCA leaders can mean the difference between an average team and a high performing team in an organisation. They are the leaders every company wants to keep, nurture and develop to their full potential.

VUCA leaders are acutely aware of the strategic goals they are striving for, and what they need to do to get there. They share:

  • company values,
  • strive to be the best at what they do,
  • identify areas for improvement, and
  • actively engage with their own leaders to perfect their craft and leadership method.

Leadership style isn’t a perfect science – but what all great leaders have in common is their ability to be authentic.

Future proof your business through VUCA leadership

Thinking back to the beginning of the Covid crisis, who among your managers disappointed you with their response? Who impressed you? Were any of these a surprise to you (either positive or negative)? Those who responded well are, potentially, your VUCA Leaders. If you manage to retain them they are the people who will guide you through future change events.

Using the Great People Inside customised VUCA leadership assessment, you can identify and quantify which team members and potential candidates possess the required attributes. Gaps that may be obstacles to your organisation’s success can also be uncovered.

Click here for a free trial.