Chaos Curtailed: How To Shield Your Team

January 10, 2013 — 5 Comments

iStock 000008061026XSmall 300x218 Chaos Curtailed:  How To Shield Your Team

“Sadly most organizations seemed to have embraced chaos and called it a good thing for an organization.  One example is the rising number of job descriptions that include “tolerance for ambiguity’ as a necessary skill.   Let me be clear:  chaos is never a good thing for an organization.  While the world is fluid, and increasingly so, this is no excuse for ambiguity and chaos in organizations….  Rather than asking your workforce to accept and develop a skill set around coping with chaos, you should be doing everything you can to reduce the chaos to begin with.”

Karen Martin, The Outstanding Organization

I am a big believer in transparency.  Transparency builds trust and creates a trusting and respectful work environment.

Share vision.  Share rationale.  Share decision-making processes.  Don’t share chaos.

Trust me. I’ve learned this one the hard way.  Sharing too much may make you feel better, but the stress multiplies as it rolls down hill.  Resist the urge and learn to become a buffer.

Your team does not want to…

  • see the stress on your face
  • know about the indecision in the meeting you just left
  • understand the stupid hoops you just jumped through
  • have their schedule jerked around because yours is a moving target
  • have deadlines that creep closer as you get more nervous
  • hear about the pressure you have from those above
  • know about your political or career struggles
  • ???

They do want to…

  • understand the big picture
  • know where they fit in
  • understand what they need to do
  • know which decisions are final
  • understand what is up for discussion
  • know what could still change
  • ???

They are looking for you to…

  • do what you said you would
  • stay the course on your big plans
  • be there to support
  • explain the reasons behind any changes
  • follow through on your commitments
  • ???

It takes courage to buffer the chaos.  Teach resilience, but shield as much as you can.  They will watch and learn and grow from the experience of watching you do it well.

See also:

Where There is Chaos Seize Control


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5 responses to Chaos Curtailed: How To Shield Your Team

  1. Bad things grow in the dark….transparency is good.

  2. Eric, Bad things grow in the dark….great quote.

  3. Great post! Very succinct.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. 7 Ways to Prevent False Urgency - January 25, 2013

    [...] Buffer your team from unrealistic urgency from above, learn to set realistic expectations around what is important (see Chaos Curtailed:  How to Shield Your Team) [...]

  2. Tough on Results, Gentle on People - Let's Grow Leaders - July 31, 2013

    [...] Scaffold growth.  Inspire confidence. Take time to teach.  Protect and defend.   Shield the team from chaos.   [...]

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