It seems to me that we’ve become very preoccupied with “Dealing with ambiguity.”
It’s said in meetings, on Job Descriptions, it’s prized as a leadership skill, yet we talk about it like it’s new and a skill we need to develop.
Some manifestations of ambiguity
• New situations with no familiar cues or precedents
• Complex situations in which there are a great number of possibilities, and interests
• Situations where nothing seems to work
How we’re told to deal with ambiguity
• Acceptance that it’s not clear
• Take some action
• Be open to change
• Be comfortable in the unknown
• Know it will be ok and you’ll deal with the outcomes
All makes sense but I want you to know you’re doing this every day and you probably don’t realise. Here’s what I mean…
• Can you call me a taxi?
• I saw someone outside with binoculars
• If the cat doesn’t stop scratching the sofa, I’m going to throw it outside
Poor cat, or poor sofa?
• Is it going to rain today?
• Driving to a new location
• Will Bob prefer milk or dark chocolate?
• I’ve not heard from Sally; I wonder what’s she’s doing
• Let’s book the time off then find a holiday
• I can’t seem to get onto the internet
Disguised as ambiguity
Sometimes it’s not ambiguous. Sometimes it’s conflict.
Sometimes we’re asked to be in 2 places at once. That’s not ambiguity, it’s a lack of consideration, a lack of clear priorities.
It seems to me the issue isn’t really about ambiguity, it’s about clear priorities, self-reliance and acting.
It’s also knowing you’ll be ok with whatever the outcome.
And you will because you’re doing this every day without even realising it. Until now.