In 1965, a young upstart band was capturing the attention of the music world. They were a part of the swoon of British Invasion bands who had found success in America during the early part of the decade, and had seemingly overnight become one of the leaders of the movement. In an interview during their breakout year, the lead singer was interviewed by a reporter about their plans and their expectations of future success. "I think we're pretty well set up for at least another year," was the singer's response. 

The band was The Rolling Stones and the singer was, of course, Mick Jagger. Now, fifty years later and at an age when many of their contemporaries are long past their prime and well into retirement, the Stones continue to tour, selling out stadiums and introducing new generations of fans to their music. 

It seems almost silly in retrospect to hear Jagger's modest predictions of success, but in the moment it probably seemed like a very reasonable response. When you are in the midst of something great, sometimes your only hope is to keep it going. You have no estimation of how long it will last, or what it will take to make it sustainable. You are simply riding the wave, but you have no idea how big it will get or how far it will go. 

Every success seems inevitable in retrospect, but most are anything but certain in the beginning. On the inside, where all of the risk is being taken, it often feels like things could fall apart at any moment, and if you're doing work that's uncertain and that's challenging the status quo, that's precisely how it should be. As a leader, you need to help your team to be comfortable with that discomfort. Here are a few ways to do so:

Stop pretending to have all the answers. While it might seem like projecting certainty will inspire the trust of your team, the opposite is often the case. If you've hired smart people, your unbridled optimism could actually work against their ability to trust you. Instead, be open about the risks you're weighing, and the potential outcomes of the decisions you've made. Confidence is not clairvoyance. Where you are putting up a facade of certainty in order to relieve the tension on the team?

Establish clear accountability. In the midst of uncertain work, clarity about who is responsible for what and when is essential. While this sounds obvious, it's also one of the first areas where teams grow lax when doing complex and collaborative work. Its easy to make assumptions about how things will get done, and soon important tasks are falling through the cracks. As you survey your team's current work, is it clear who owns what and when it's expected to be completed? 

Embrace conflict. If you've hired properly, conflict is to be expected. It's a natural result of having talented people around you. However, you need to make certain that the conflict is healthy. Your team should be arguing over ideas, not personality. The moment that the conflict gets personal, your culture suffers. Many leaders try to squelch conflict the moment it arises, because it's uncomfortable. Instead, embrace conflict and use it to sharpen your team's vision. Is there any place where you're pre-maturely settling conflict because it's too uncomfortable?

Be willing to change your mind. You'll hear many people advise that you must have a clear, fixed long-term vision and know precisely where you're headed and what it will take to get there, but that kind of clarity is often rare in today's world. There are simply too many variables and too much uncertainty to expect it. Rather, be willing to change your mind when introduced to new information. You don't have to be able to see the destination, you merely need to be able to see the horizon. Great leaders navigate by compass, not by map. Is there a belief that you're unwilling to challenge because of stubbornness or pride?

Brilliant, innovative work requires adaptive leaders. Don't fall prey to the temptation to be a superhero. Instead, be willing to do the much more difficult work of shouldering the uncertainty and creating a stable environment in which your team can take risks and push into the unknown.