Written by Kristin Harrington

I’ve spent the past few months listening to the wise words of Mike Manazir, Boeing Executive and retired Navy Rear Admiral. I was blessed to hear him speak on “leading through uncertainty” a year ago, and we have become fast friends since then as colleagues who geek out over leadership concepts. In December 2021, the uncertainty around us was genuinely real. COVID was spiking (again), and it was uncertain if another round of shutdowns was coming. 

Since that time, our world has evolved. The uncertainty is no longer just tied to COVID. War, politics, new strains… you name it. We are leading through the most uncertain time in history. As Mike and I prepare for an upcoming #leadership session together, speaking to this uncertainty again, we know a different and more nuanced approach in late 2022 is warranted. But what?

“Leading through Uncertainty with JOY” was our answer. The uncertainty is still there, more prominently than ever, and it won’t change any time soon. So how we lead through this uncertainty and our own lives will become the differentiator—finding joy where you are – wherever that is- is the new secret to navigating through uncertainty.  

I love this idea, but I must admit that I’m not great at it myself. You can describe me as great at many things, but “joyful” usually doesn’t top the list. Mike and I spent a lot of time brainstorming ways to create joy in our lives.  

For me, embracing gratitude has become my focus. I started a gratitude journal, although I haven’t done a great job of keeping up with it (sharing with sincerity, so hopefully, I will pick it back up again). On the days when I was consistent in writing in my journal, I was more joyful. I had a deeper appreciation for the things in my life, the big and the little stuff. This Thanksgiving week, I’m especially mindful of finding joy in being grateful for the personal and professional gifts I’ve received.  

Finding joy can come through many different acts, and gratitude is among them. My other favorites include compassion, humility, perspective, and generosity; what’s common to all of them – thinking about and acting on behalf of others. I’m still learning about leading with joy, but I’m confident it doesn’t have much to do with me.

This Thanksgiving week, what brings you the greatest joy? How can you practice joy as a leader – what one step can you take?


Additional Resources:

Side Effects of Gratitude https://leadstar.us/articles/the-side-effects-of-gratitude/

Planning for Joy https://leadstar.us/articles/do-you-need-more-joy-in-your-life-take-the-risk/