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No. 1 LEADERSHIP Question: How comfortable are you in the CHAOS?

Source |  |  BY:Aiyshah Gwilliam

CEO and Founder at ELIT Language Centre

There are all kinds of leaders, some are good, some bad and some have the ability to take something to an extraordinary level. One of the most important attributes of those like the latter have an ability to sit within the chaos and still be able to sleep.

This doesn’t mean that the leader has no feelings for others, no conscience or understanding consequences, this is more to do with how well they can manage extreme conflicting situations. This requires three things:

1.      An ability to inherently understand the flow of business and all contracts within that

2.      An edge of being willing to remove themselves from a situation in an objective way

3.      An ability to keep their eye on the big picture only

Some leaders have all three, some have only one and employ others to handle the other two and some have a smattering of some and more of another. No one person is the same. But the true leader is someone who can comfortably sit more in Number 3 than the others. This is of course the riskiest move, because you have to trust that whoever is looking after the other two can do the job to their satisfaction.

How does one sit comfortably in the chaos?

Funnily enough it really comes down to being able to let go of the drama and move into the long term thinking. There are plenty of people who will want you to be a manager and manage the hysteria around you, but this kind of thing does need to be delegated if possible, as with a ship in the storm, the captain shouldn’t be bailing out the water under the deck, they need to be keeping their eye on the horizon and steering the rudder so all things are continuing on track to reach the destination.

Chaos obviously comes in the initial part of a business problem, but in fact, for most of a leaders time at the top there will always be some kind of chaos somewhere. Sometimes it is huge, and wild, sometimes it’s minor and manageable, and sometimes it’s a flat and long-tailed creature that sits and squirms from time to time….(if you know what I mean).

What kind of person makes a great true leader?

If you are a control freak, true leadership isn’t for you.

If you are someone who cares little about people, true leadership also isn’t for you.

If you are someone who has raised 10 children alone, been a breadwinner, got your PhD and supported your extended family while suffering a debilitating disease (I think you know where I’m going with this) – you may be a great manager, or a great delegator, but consider leadership too – what you have achieved shows real strength of character and resourcefulness, and if you wanted to you could do it all again with bells on (of course you probably wouldn’t want to go through all that again), but you will need to understand that it takes great leadership to survive all this and do well with it.

True leaders have a vision. There are plenty of others around them who do the tough day to day work, but at the end of the day the responsibility ends with the leader. This is a burden to carry, but the rewards are in the achievement of the vision. The burden that is carried is the chaos that comes with attempting to achieve something impossible.



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