Big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, Amazon have laid off over 104,000 employees in the last year. Inflation is high. Many retailers are not reaching their sales targets, and some have folded under the pressure. This ripple effect in the economy is making people feel anxious. Not only are leaders having to deal with their own uncertainty, but their teams are also feeling nervous about the current economic climate. Many leaders are looking for ways to allay fears and support their teams.

Leaders undergoing changes to their organizations won’t have all the answers. They might not have access to the data they need. But the critical work still needs to get done. How does that work get done differently and what skills are needed in these uncertain times?

Let’s look at four key skills that have even greater importance as leaders navigate the new economic landscape.

1. Prioritization

Prioritization can be defined as planning and prioritizing projects and tasks to align with company goals. In times of uncertainty, this takes on even more importance.  Leaders will need to deep dive to understand how the work is currently being done so they can work with their team how the work can get done more effectively and efficiently. Without as many resources, leaders need to ruthlessly seek out and find unproductive work. Prioritization may entail finding ways to get work done more quickly.  Leaders will need to determine which tasks can get done with less effort or “polish.” Agile uses the term “minimal viable product (MVP).”

It may be time to lower standards on some projects to meet specific targets. Think of a Pinterest-worthy charcuterie board. Perhaps clients would be just as satisfied with a Lunchable. Leaders will need to determine where and when to cut back without impacting service levels or organizational goals.

2. Collaboration

This skill can be defined as being able to work with others to achieve a goal. Where there is ambiguity and risk, collaboration is crucial for leaders. They will need team members to cross-train to reduce the risk of someone leaving. As well as getting the team to collaborate, leaders themselves need to collaborate with their team members like never before. This requires a high degree of trust. Leaders will want their teams to give feedback on what’s working and what isn’t so they can make efficiencies. They won’t be able to do that without a high level of trust and psychological safety on their team. A leader who can foster collaboration on their team will be able to improve problem solving and efficiency and have a more engaged team overall.

3. Communication

Communication is the two-way exchange of information. In times of uncertainty, over-communication should be every leader’s goal. Team members are feeling anxious. They will need to be updated more frequently than usual to help allay fears. Help take them along on the journey and show what work is being done. A team will want to know that even with a reduced team, they will still make their goals; that their core projects are still on track; that they are valued more than ever. Communicating positively will help to calm concerns around changes. Leaders will need to help their teams find the positive in their new world. The other side of communication is listening. Leaders will need to take extra time to meet with their people in times of uncertainty and have them voice their concerns and ideas. Leaders who actively listen to their teams will be able to gain new insights, give reassurance and build trust with their people.

4. Managing Ambiguity

Finally, the skill that defines these uncertain times is managing ambiguity. This skill requires leaders to take risks and make decisions when they don’t have all the answers. Many leaders are well-skilled in this area, but many are not. Their jobs have been steady; their tasks have been routine; their teams have not seen much change. In cases like these, leaders will need to become comfortable with the uncomfortable. They may make mistakes as they try to determine the way forward. The best way forward is to rely on their team and other skills we talked about. If leaders can truly understand how the work is being done so they can prioritize, build psychological safety and trust with their team so they can collaborate, rally their teams by communicating a positive vision of the future, and authentically connect with their people, and rely on them to help make decisions, will be able to weather these uncertain times and have their teams thrive in a world of uncertainty.

The pace of change impacting businesses today isn’t slowing down any time soon. But with leaders who can effectively prioritize, collaborate, communicate and manage ambiguity, their people — and the business — will be prepared for whatever comes next.