Course Features

Leading in Times of Uncertainty

Uncertainty, upheaval and even setbacks are increasingly the norm for today’s leaders. We live and work in turbulent times and successful performance – whether for yourself or your organization – requires an ability to navigate turmoil, bounce back from adversity and keep on track. Resilience has become a strategic necessity. In this course, we explore what it takes to create a resilient organization or team. We start by considering how crises emerge and what leaders can do to help their teams attend to and mitigate problems before they escalate into disaster. We then consider leadership in the midst of adversity – the operational and interpersonal practices that facilitate creativity, motivation, and team cohesion in the face of ongoing challenges. Throughout, we also consider what this work requires of you, as a leader, and how to cultivate resilience in yourself. This course is grounded in one critical premise: that resilience is not a trait - something you (or your organization) has. Rather, resilience is something you do. It is enacted in the ways that you notice, attend to and grapple with adversity as it arises, and how you enable the people around you to be a part of that struggle. In this three-day, in person and very interactive course, we will use case studies, videos, personal and organizational assessments, and several dynamic activities to learn about and practice techniques of organizational and personal resilience.

All courses include:

  • Industry-leading faculty
  • Collaborative learning
  • Research-driven results
  • Lifelong connections
  • Practical applications
  • Custom solutions

Program Details

Who should attend

  • Current or future managers seeking to enhance their ability to manage a team during times of uncertainty

What you will learn

  • Learn practices to help your team build vigilance and adaptability, to notice and mitigate problems before they escalate.
  • Explore common leadership traps unique to uncertain environments and learn how to prevent them
  • Understand resilience as something you do (not something you have) and explore the work of resilience – for you, your team and your organization.
  • Practice strategies to facilitate creativity, motivation and team cohesion in the midst of adversity
  • Uncover resources that you can use to develop your own, personal resilience


Michelle Barton portrait

Michelle Barton, PhD

Associate Professor of Practice

Dr. Michelle Barton is an Associate Professor of Practice at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School with expertise in organizational and team resilience, managing uncertainty, and interpersonal effectiveness during adversity.

Dr. Barton’s work examines how groups manage dynamic and uncertain situations as they are unfolding. Drawing from wildland firefighting, high tech entrepreneurship, expedition racing and military operations, her research considers how groups make sense of ambiguous situations, how they coordinate, learn and share knowledge in the midst of confusion and how they mitigate and recover from adversity. She is especially focused on the relational dynamics that enable these practices. Dr. Barton’s research has appeared in Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, BMJ – Leader, Academy of Management Review, Organization Studies, The Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, Human Relations, Organizational Psychology Review and several edited collections. She has presented her work at venues such as NASA, the U.S. Army Medical Command, American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine, West Point, Children’s Hospital Association and Boston Medical Center among others.

In addition to her University teaching, Dr. Barton runs workshops on leading in volatile environments, and coaches executives in accelerated learning and knowledge-sharing practices. Prior to her academic career, Dr. Barton spent ten years with Harvard Business Publishing, where she was a co-founder of their eLearning business and the global Product Director for Leadership and Management Development programs. While there, she helped produce over 20 interactive learning programs for managers. Prior to that, she was an Associate at the Boston Consulting Group.