Leading in Chaotic Times
Do you ever feel like us? Sometimes we just look at one another and say, “Why are we so tired?” Leading in chaotic times is exhausting.
But when it comes right down to it, one of the biggest reasons is all the uncertainty and contingency planning.
“If there’s a vaccine by then we’ll hold our event this way … and if not, let’s plan for an entirely different approach.”
“We will go in THIS direction unless THAT happens, and then, of course, we’ll need to do THAT instead. Can you build it out both ways?”
“We desperately need leadership training. And we’ve selected you …” (that’s the good news).
“But first, we have to see if …” (and all we head into another hopeful holding pattern).”
And your contingencies depend on THEIR contingencies. And the vortex of chaotic times continues.
How to Ensure You Show Up as a Better Leader During Chaotic Times
You just don’t know what you’re going to show up to tomorrow.
But you do have a very important choice: How you show up.
One of the best ways to become a better leader is to DECIDE how you want to show up.
No matter what.
Regardless of what happens next.
To lead from your own playbook.
You can’t always choose WHAT you show up to,
but you can always choose HOW you show up.
When Karin was teaching in the MBA program at the University of Maryland, one of her favorite assignments was helping her students articulate their values and operating principles by building their “leadership credo”(click here for a step-by-step guide to this activity which you can easily adapt for a Zoom team-builder).
We take a similar approach in our long-term leadership programs by helping leaders build their personalized leadership playbook. They reflect on and articulate their leadership values, operating principles, and what they want to be known for—their leadership legacy.
We then take the conversation a step deeper as we talk about scenarios that make it challenging to show up as this best version of themselves. And how they can help one another overcome those challenges.
Then, when the chaos ensues, we encourage leaders to pause and control what they can control: how they show up. Because they’ve got the playbook.
Your Personalized Leadership Playbook
And so we share this tool with you, to help you (and your team) build your own leadership playbook for thriving during chaotic times. Let us know how it goes. We’d love to have you share your aspirational leadership legacy with us in the comments. Feel free to use this playbook with your team. You can download the PDF here.
What’s your aspirational leadership legacy. For what do you want to be remembered as a leader?
This is great; thank you for sharing it. I’ve downloaded the PDF. Have you thought about sharing either successfully completed examples of individual playbooks or providing a list of values and operating norms as thought starters for those completing the exercise?
In some ways, it might run counter to the exercise (this is supposed to be about understanding yourself, not cribbing someone else), but it could also help focus people in on how to get the most out of the exercise.