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Perry Timms
Perry Timms

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03 February 2020 Perry Timms

Navigating turbulent times is a vivid analogy for the modern world of work, says Perry Timms.

It is often unpredictable and extensively reported on with conflicting predictions (more human workplaces but more intrusive technologies) and little certainty or factual, evidence-based practice.

So, whether you are a leader or a follower, when was the last time you asked a colleague what you could do for each other?

From an HR practitioner perspective, a key challenge is the conundrum of performance and results without undue pressure – the stress-induced absences we’re seeing damage people and productivity. Uncertain political and economic climates only exacerbate this. 

And yet for three years running, the workplace as a ‘safe house’ has been quoted in reports by the Trust Barometer Survey from Edelman and we see reports of a sense of belonging as essential to our work. We are beyond engagement and heading into meaning and purpose in many cases.

What is often overlooked is the need to keep people energised, balanced and stimulated through their ability to self-direct and their desires to do something worthy in a place where others care about their efforts, triumphs and struggles.

And in that, a crucial leadership/management quality comes in two ways: support and stewarding. Confidently setting direction and making decisions in complex situations, being supportive and enabling people to succeed without overly pressuring them.

Instead of fear-inducing captains of industry, intelligent leaders are needed. Think Jim Whitehurst at Red Hat software, Maria Eitel at the Nike Foundation, Jos de Blok at Buurtzorg and Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s PM.  

Navigating is a team sport. Compassion and business acumen need to be a regular – not a rare – combination. Navigating turbulent times is a together pursuit – otherwise you could sink without a trace.

Perry Timms is founder and chief energy officer of PTHR