Monday, September 10th, 2018
The Chaotic Leader
There are many chaotic leaders. There are many leaders who change their minds, their strategy, their schedule, their point of view often and quickly. There are many leaders who act without vetting their ideas with experts and/or the people who work for them. There are many leaders who rant and rave in their private office. There are many leaders who expect total blind loyalty from the people who work for them. There are many leaders who are unaware of their impact on those who get the work done. There are many leaders who don’t “get” the need for process and principles to guide decisions.
Too often these qualities seem to come in combination. The result is:
—Discouragement for people who want to get the work done
—More conversations about the leader than about the work
—Confusion about what the work actually is
—Fear, fear, fear of the arbitrary (Remember, random reinforcement makes people nuts.)
—Constant irritation that turns to anger that can’t be expressed to correct the irritation
—Disappointment—because people still want a leader they can respect
—Profound disengagement that leads to losing of top talent
—Time and effort muted so that effort does not equal results
In industry, chaotic leaders don’t last long. The Board and the stock price are not tolerant.There is no fixed time to wait out a chaotic leader. There can be expensive contracts to pay outbut stopping the damage is worth the cost.
I’ve coached chaotic leaders who have realized their impact and changed their behavior. It takes fear of losing a job they want, willingness to be self-aware, hiring good people to counter-act impulsive decision making and keeping the good parts of chaos that translate into flexibility, openness, urgency for action, and willingness to risk.