In last week’s quick tip, we discussed failure and no matter how much effort is put into attempting to avoid it, it’s going to happen. Chaos falls under the same umbrella. Leaders can plan, forecast, and predict until they’re blue in the face, but no matter how hard they try, chaos is going to happen. Here are some practical tips for how to overcome chaos as a leader.
Although the world may be falling down around a team, the last thing a leader should be doing is reacting. During times of chaos, the team will be looking to the leader and will emulate their demeanor and actions. If the leader is in panic mode, the team will quickly follow. Gain composure even if it means stepping out of the room for a few moments. When a leader is composed, their team will emulate their emotions.
Stick To The Plan
During preparation, the overall plan should have included contingencies and/or risks. If this information was outlined, follow those guidelines. If not, stick to familiar processes. Processes provide a solid foundation for defining rules of engagement in a work environment, so go with what the team knows. By sticking to the plan or process, this allows the team to focus on addressing the chaos only.
Communicate more than normal during times of chaos. Let the team know expectations, goals, and direction. Encourage them to communicate with one another more than normal. Clearly communicate the plan and continue to communicate as the team works through the chaos.
Lastly, and most importantly, is trust. Trust your team to do the work. This is not an opportunity for a leader to inject themselves into the details and start micro-managing. Doing this brings stress and anxiety into a situation that drives the team apart. Pull the team together by trusting them, working with them to provide clear direction, and giving them the support they need to be successful.
Chaos will happen, but with the appropriate foundation, processes, and support, a leader should have no problems helping their team navigate the waters of chaos. If this is your Achilles heel, consider leadership training to help get you on track.