Embracing the new: Women leading and influencing in VUCA times

Media Type: Slides, Video
Resource Duration: 60 minutes
Number of downloads: 0

A group of women in leadership met to discuss these themes and joined together to lead a workshop celebrating International Womens Day 2021. Fifty-five women joined us to debate, discuss and share ideas for creating new approaches to leadership, around the question: How do we learn to lead in a VUCA world?

VUCA is the acronym for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity, a leadership model based on the theories of Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus dating to the late 1980s.

Leaders are often required to navigate uncertainties, paradoxes, conflicts, pressures and ambiguities. The VUCA model calls for new approaches to management centred on developing a personal approach to leadership.

Do classical approaches to leadership work in a VUCA world? The model inspires and encourages leaders to move away from the idea of the leader who ‘knows all’ and ‘can solve all problems’ towards a vision of developmental leadership. This approach brings into focus the leader ability to develop others’ capacity to handle problems and make difficult decisions. The model is therefore based on the idea that every individual can contribute their skills and this is especially valuable in a VUCA world. The overarching aim of this approach to leadership is that of conveying positive energy into the development of meaningful approaches. The VUCA model relies on five key skills:

  • developing a shared purpose
  • learning agility
  • self-awareness
  • leading through collaboration and influence
  • confidence in leading through uncertainty
  • growth mind-set

In strategic terms the model means that leading in a VUCA world requires:

  • Vision
  • Understanding
  • Clarity
  • Adaptability/Agility

We are creating an e-zine resource with ideas to move forward.

We want your stories!

  • What are your experiences of leadership?
  • What are your ambitions?
  • What are your challenges?
  • What are your successes?

Our aim is collect case studies together in an online magazine, with as many photos of us as possible.


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Additional Resource Information

View resources by author(s): Debbie Holley, Carina Buckley, Kate Coulson

Institution(s): Bournemouth University, Southampton Solent University, BPP University

Event Date: 15/03/2021

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