059 Leading Through Uncertainty with Rebecca Zucker

“In order to effectively lead others in increasing complexity, leaders must first learn to lead themselves.” – Rebecca Zucker

Today my guest is Rebecca Zucker, founding partner at Next Step Partners, a leadership development firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and LA. We discuss her recent HBR article that outlines six strategies for improving a leader’s ability to learn, develop and navigate our increasingly complex world.

Prior to founding Next Step, Rebecca worked as an investment banker for Goldman Sachs, and spent time as VP, Learning & Development at Robertson Stephens. She holds a degree in International Business from NYU, as well an MBA from Stanford.

In today’s episode, we cover:

  • How to embrace discomfort as a normal part of navigating choppy waters
  • The important difference between complicated and complex
  • Why resisting oversimplification can lead to better decision making
  • Why high achievers need to let go of perfectionism, and much more!

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The Difference Between Complicated VS. Complex Problems

Complicated problems are figure out-able. There could be someone who has an expertise that can be applied where an answer can more or less be determined.

With complex challenges, there is no one right answer. An example of this would be trying to solve climate change. There’s not a clear single answer.



Leadership and Humility

You take people in the hospitality business or travel business, they were much more adversely affected [by COVID-19]. So how do you address that or mitigate the losses you incurred? Those things are really challenging.

Different businesses and different people were certainly affected differently, but I think dealing with those challenges also requires some humility – that we don’t have all the answers and that we need to work together to find the best solution.

Why You Get Overwhelmed With Challenges

Part of what makes these challenges overwhelming for leaders is because they feel isolated, and they feel pressured to come up with a solution and to be the ‘savior’. And they don’t need to do this.

This is everyone’s challenge together. It would be good for leaders to reach out to other team members who may have good ideas and reach out to people on the front line as well who may see things that you don’t see.


Links and Resources

Connect with Rebecca: LinkedIn, Twitter and Email