Five Leadership Qualities to Cultivate in Uncertain Times

Today’s HR leaders must respond to unprecedented waves of change that are reshaping every aspect of the employee experience. Organizations and leaders themselves need to develop new strengths to address the challenges and opportunities which tumultuous market shifts bring.

An experienced learning practitioner on how to lead through uncertainty

Kimo Kippen, founder of Aloha Learning Advisors, has a passion for lifelong learning and talent development. His prior roles include chief learning officer at Hilton and VP of learning at Marriott International. Kimo notes the crucial role authentic and compassionate HR leaders can play in ensuring employees thrive rather than struggle, particularly during times of adversity. Read below the five top leadership qualities that Kimo suggests HR leaders nurture in uncertain times.

Five top leadership qualities that HR leaders nurture in uncertain times:

  1. Determine your purpose—be more self-aware.

    Leaders need to first turn inward to develop “greater self-awareness.” Only once they know themselves can leaders become truly aware of their impact on others and how they are perceived. One key piece of self-knowledge is to decide on your own “purpose” in the world.

    Kimo advises leaders to develop a “global perspective and appreciation” for inclusivity and diversity. By adopting a world view, leaders can arrive at their true “vocation.” Kimo’s mission is “to create greater access to learning and education,” which can then change people’s lives.

    Kimo recommends the model in the book “Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life” by Hector Garcia and Francesc Miralle to discover one’s passion in life.

  2. Take a breath—be more empathetic.

    As leaders consider how to move ahead in challenging times, they must think about how they can build trust with those they’re leading so that everyone can advance together. Leaders need to come across as authentic, earnest, sincere, compassionate, and empathetic.

    Kimo advises HR leaders not to be afraid of hitting the “pause button” to take a breath during times of rapid change and decision-making. “This is not a sprint; this is a marathon.”

    Kimo recommends the article “Millennials Say They Are Struggling More to Work from Home” to understand the generational differences of adjusting to work during a pandemic.

  3. Stay resilient—be more in balance.

    When thinking about the course of a leader’s life, Kimo suggests the analogy of a wheel, where all the different dimensions of existence–work, home, spirituality, etc.–combine to fill that wheel. The key question leaders need to ask themselves daily is, “Are you truly in balance?”

    Kimo advises leaders work on achieving a balanced life and consider how to stay resilient. He emphasizes pursuing a healthy form of resilience in terms of exercise, sleep, diet, and faith.

    Kimo recommends checking out “The Thrive Global” to explore the importance of boosting individual well-being.

  4. Everything matters—be more intentional.

    Every action an individual takes in any area of their life has an impact on how they conduct themselves. Recognizing that “everything you do matters” helps leaders adopt a more intentional approach to their work, how they lead, and how they lead by example.

    Kimo advises HR leaders to actively embrace the more intentional attitude towards employee engagement that changes in the medium of engagement may cause. For instance, he emphasizes the shift from daily office life to virtual communication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Kimo recommends the books and articles of respected executive educator and coach Marshall Goldsmith.

  5. Pivot for the future—be more creative.

    Now, more than ever, HR leaders need to pivot and reframe their positioning and strategies to meet what Kimo calls “the next normal.” On the upside, significant ongoing change will also present tremendous and previously unimaginable opportunities.

    Kimo advises HR leaders to “up their game” in providing lifelong and organizational learning for employees. Leaders need to improve their creative mindset to stay agile, shifting from a previous “all-knowing” attitude to adopting a “real-time flow” approach to problem-solving.

    Kimo recommends reading “Hit Refresh,” which outlines Satya Nadella’s journey of transforming Microsoft.

Access additional insights on HR leadership

Tune in to hear the complete conversation between Kimo and host SumTotal’s Brent Colescott, titled “React – Leading Through Uncertainty.”