Leading in Uncertain Times
Posted on October 10, 2020
These times can be confusing and destabilizing and it will only get more intense in the weeks and months to come. The anxiety and all the feels emanate to all the people around us. No matter what, we can’t get distracted or stuck and need to stay centered and focused. The task at hand (at least one of them) is to take care of ourselves and the people around us, find/fill our roles and… be ready.
I’ve become super clear about what I can bring with my limited energy and capacity during SIP. Here are 5 things that have helped me navigate these times. (Note: These are not new ideas and there are definitely many versions of this.)
1. Find your lane – This one has been a helpful way to start. Do what you know, what you’re good at and/or what others think you are good at and dig in. Sometimes it is about your unique contribution but honestly sometimes it is just about doing what’s needed. Your lane might not be the sexiest lane, but all good, there are roles for all of us.
2. Change or create new lanes – Sometimes lanes can get crowded so we need to learn to make self and collective assessments to pivot. Sometimes we gotta learn to stay in our lanes but also change lanes if others got it and/or create new lanes for yourself or others. At the end of the day, there is PLENTY of ground to cover.
3. Merge and grow lanes – Sometimes we need more people and wider lanes so we need to learn to get into formation, offer and follow leadership, collaborate, build unity — not easy but necessary in particular and chaotic times.
4. Flank others – If you need to take a little break, you can pull over, slow down, and flank others. This has been my learning edge this year. Since coming back from sabbatical, I’ve been learning to flank all the good people around me from my partner, Mychi (and Collin) to people at work and in the movement. There are also times you are leading on one front and flanking on another. This is ALL leadership and truly a craft.
5. You do YOU – Ultimately, you just gotta do YOU. What does this mean? Many, including myself, have a lot of good ideas but wait for the “perfect” moment or for others to initiate. I love reading the children’s book, “What Do You Do With an Idea,” with Collin sometimes. It reminds me to embrace, nurture and nourish your ideas. Learn to do your idea and practice them with others. Create your lane but also be ready to merge your lane with others when the time is right because chances are that it is not a “new” idea.
This is all easier said than done and will take on-going practice with your squad and other squads.
If you don’t have a squad yet, join one or find at least 2 more people and start building one.
If you have power and privilege, create and make space for others.
If you’re feeling some kind of way about other people (or lanes), reserve judgement and then collectivize that shade towards other worthy targets like the system, racial capitalism or Trump!
If you’ve been wronged, communicate timely and directly, forgive but don’t forget, and yes, keep those receipts!
If you messed up, be principled, reflect on it, and own up to it.
No matter what… let’s extend each other love, grace and space in these times. We’re gonna need all this and more. With less than 25 days until the election, so much more can and will change and a ton more will happen after.
To be clear, this is not a technical exercise, there is a lot at stake for folks who want to build a more transformative and liberatory world. What do we tell our little ones and the next generation of little ones what we did or didn’t do in these uncertain times…?
Need ideas on what you can do??
- Volunteer for a phone or textbank with Seed the Vote and the Frontline.
- Join an in-person delegation to Arizona, Florida, and Pennsylvania
- Do election defense work on election day AND post election day
Lets stay focused, do the work and get it for all our peoples!