Uncertainty. We have never heard the term more often or been more familiar with the implications of the unknown. Over the last year, leaders across the globe have grappled with making critical decisions — often with only having a fraction of the information. Darden students and alumni know that feeling well, after two years of rigorously practicing the concept of being comfortable with the ambiguous. As part of a recent speaker series event, two Darden alumnae embraced the unique opportunity that leading during uncertainty provides, and shared insights into a few of their own challenging career moments.
Speaking to the UVA Darden School of Business community at a Women@Darden speaker series event moderated by Darden Professor Vivian Riefberg, Darden alumnae and members of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees Martina Hund-Mejean (MBA ’88) and Carolyn Miles (MBA ’88) offered guidance for leading through uncertainty and strategies for sustainable professional growth.
Key priorities in a time of crisis or uncertainty include determining what tasks need to be done in the short term to be able to strategically move forward, forming an effective and trusted team so tasks can be delegated, and accounting for the needs of all stakeholders.
“You need to figure out how to get the 365 degree view fairly fast,” said Hund-Mejean.
Riefberg, who recently taught an MBA course on leading through the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, stressed the need to be able to “bound the uncertainty” in order to forge a path forward.
“Leading in a crisis can be a defining moment in your career and is the best way to learn,” said Miles, who was recently named to a senior adviser post at Darden. “Don’t ever run away from crisis.”
Times of crisis are also when you can learn about yourself and the workplace environment. You learn both about EQ, or emotional intelligence, of yourself and the team, but also the DQ, or “decency quotient,” said Hund-Mejean. Crises can help clarify what kind of empathy you have and what kind of culture you have surrounded yourself with.
Read the full article on The Darden Report.
Featured in header image: Martina Hund-Mejean (MBA ’88), Professor Vivian Riefberg and Carolyn Miles (MBA ’88) recently participated in a Women@Darden event on leading through uncertainty.
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