Uncertainity in Action

Currently in my leadership in action period, I have taken the time to reflect on the process so far and the key lessons I have learnt.

Like Comment

I understood that within the leadership in action period complications would occur, things would not go to plan and a large portion of the challenge would reside in personal resilience and planning. However, the degree to which these complications can snowball was something I had not anticipated and felt quickly knocked out of kilter by this. 

My previous approach to management within the project was to primarily have three elements: myself, time and others, but these quickly blended together and became an amalgamation of stress and problems. This was my first key lesson: Be proactive instead of reactive. Due to my want to stick to the plan and structure, in the face of uncertainity I had not changed my approach. This led me to try and use the same management style as I reacted to different sitations, instead of taking a step back, readjusting and proactively responding to the new task at hand. Having a project that relates to COVID-19 and the subsequent changes it proposed the irony was not lost on me; although I was attempting to understand shifts in behaviour and attitudes, I myself was not doing this. This brings me to my second lesson: Learn from the project. The information it provides or more importantly does not provide was a direct product of my technique- by reflecting on this I could see the positives of my approach, and the drawbacks. 

I know that I have already learnt so much from the leadership in action period, and this has not always been easy to face. Issues that at first seemed neglible quickly starting impacting other areas and tasks at hand. Forward planning had always been what I believed to be a strength of mine and within the leadership development sessions, I had always relied on it as a strong foundation for me to approach tasks with. But the LIA period seems to have undermined this almost instantly. The snowballing of issues left me feeling lost, stressed and with very little confidence- how could a singular typo potentially delay the project so much? What if I have taken the completely wrong approach? This has been for me the hardest lesson to learn, and one that I know for a fact I will continue to face throughout the rest of the LIA and into my further endeavours: Mistakes will be made. A blantly obvious point yes, this seems to have been the one I have struggled the most with. In theory, uncertainity in choices and actions seems worrying but the outcomes do not bear any weight. Within action, uncetainity for me nearly turned into inertia. My fear to make mistakes left me not wanting to make any decisions, and although this has not played out into reality it proposed a very new and raw challenge that I have not known before. The LIA period is  definitely taking me out of my comfort zone, but I am now starting to see the positives to this challenge once again instead of the negatives. 

Not knowing exactly what may happen is stressful, but there are benefits to this. By learning from the information at hand, proactively responding and understanding that mistakes are a part of the process the end product can be a far more realistic and refined piece than previously thought. I hope that this new angle and approach I have taken will continue to benefit me throughout the rest of the LIA and help inform more appropriate choices. 

Anna Wilson

Laidlaw Scholar , University of Leeds

Studying International Sustainability and Environmental Management. My 1st year research project was “The pedestrian environment and new mobility services: mixed messages?”, one that I chose due to a passion for social justice and the exploration of it within varying contexts. COVID-19 caused this project to be heavily redesigned, with research objectives shifting to how the pedestrian space was used during the intial pandemic, and future idealistic spaces.