Leading In Uncertainty

As most of the world is experiencing uncertainty and stress, this is the time for business leaders to step up and light the torch that will help us all navigate the ambiguity ahead. Those who lead with clarity, optimism, and vulnerability will be the ones that confidently lead their organizations into the new normal that is emerging.  

Earlier this month, prior to AirBnB laying off about 25% of its workforce, CEO Brian Chesky released a letter to the company that illustrates leadership in a time of hardship: highlighting the principles that are crucial to ensure that teams and communities stay engaged during difficult times.  

In his letter, Chesky provided clarity on the process that led them to make the layoff decisions—starting with a wide perspective of the industry, focusing on the business implications, and being transparent about how the company approached reductions. For those individuals who were part of the layoff, Chesky laid out a clear plan of how they would proceed, and the structures that the company was putting in place to ease the transition; including the development of an alumni directory to connect people with jobs. 

While giving clarity to the state of the business, he also illuminated a path forward for the team members staying at the company: setting forth a mission to honor those leaving by ensuring that all their work doesn’t go to waste.  

Lastly, the letter makes a compelling case for vulnerability and strength—showing us how these two are not mutually exclusive. In his letter, Chesky acknowledges the difficulty of making these decisions, showing vulnerability with his feelings, while providing confidence for those staying that the business will prosper. 

For more information, read the original letter here