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An Uncertain Future (#36)

The Confident Leader

This past year has taught us that nothing is certain.  Uncertainty abounds. As we chart a course for the future, how do we gain the confidence we need to move forward? 

Nothing in the world causes so much misery as uncertainty.
— Martin Luther

This Week’s Edition

UNCERTAIN: Not able to be relied on. Not known or definite. Not completely confident or sure of something.

Clarify Your Thinking

“Robin, the board just met. They are not giving me the CEO spot,” Chris said.

“I thought they had voted on that a year ago when they appointed you the successor to the CEO,” I stated.

“I know. That’s what I thought too.”

“Who did they give it to?” I asked.

“That’s the weird thing. They didn’t give it to anyone. It’s just up in the air.”

“Huh. Did they ask for your resignation?” I asked.

“No. They didn’t give me any details other than I am not going to be the CEO right now.”

“Right now? I wonder what that means,” I offered.


In life and in leadership, why are things so uncertain? Even when things seem settled and certain, one day we wake up to find immense uncertainty that seemingly wasn’t there the day before.


In my executive coaching, I have a ring-side seat to the uncertainty that leaders face. Uncertainty causes leaders to question. The answer to those questions often leads to leadership doubt.


Chris’ loss of the CEO position created significant uncertainty in his mind. This caused him to begin to:

·      Doubt his leadership skills,

·      Question his performance for the entirety of his tenure at the company,

·      Doubt his boss’ support of him,

·      Question his ability to continue to lead at the organization, and

·      Doubt the future of his career.  


post pandemic vision

Thoughts Lead to Actions

In the face of leadership doubt, what’s a leader to do?


First, Chris had a coach, someone who could provide outside insight to help him get perspective. This allowed him to keep his thinking in check as he began to ponder worst-case scenarios.


1.   Get a thinking partner.


Second, Chris had to mourn the loss of the opportunity and face reality. He was not going to be the CEO at this company at this time.


2.   Embrace the loss. Face reality.


Third, Chris needed to make an action plan. He realized his professional vision was to be the top leader, a CEO. If it wasn’t going to happen at this organization, he needed to move on. He made a choice. He created a step-by-step plan to find the next gig.


3.   Make a plan.


Fourth, Chris took an active step forward. Interestingly, this led to being pursued by other companies in the industry. Surprisingly, in response, his company awoke to his value and eventually offered him the top spot.


4.   Take a step forward. You never know what you’ll find.


Uncertainty is a merciless companion forced upon leaders seeking solely to provide certainty for their board, their team and their clients. How you deal with uncertainty and the leadership doubt that necessarily follows will certainly determine your leadership effectiveness.


Boost Your Performance

Uncertainty is a staple of leadership life.  Learn how to embrace it and place your reliance on something that transcends the uncertainty of the day. Leadership is hard, but not too hard. 

What’s Your Opinion?

How do you face uncertainty?  Let me know at

Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

robin pou, chief advisor and strategist

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

If this was helpful, feel free to share it with another leader who needs to defeat doubt and complete their confidence.

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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.

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