Managing Ourselves and Leading Others in Times of Chaos


Times of chaos… that seems to be the energy out there right now.  So, how do we manage and lead when nothing is certain and everything seems turned on its head?  How do we manage ourselves and be leaders for our teams and peers?  Not only are we in an incredibly tumultuous time, we are also forced to isolate and work remotely.  If we are looking to maintain initiatives and keep corporate objectives moving in the right direction, we need to take a deeper look at how we are showing up and how we are helping other during these times.

Let’s break it down…

Managing Ourselves

I first look at how I’m showing up to any situation.  Am I showing up as an ignitor, a change agent, a helper?  Am I adding to a situation in a positive way, a constructive or destructive way?  It is so important for us to look within during times like these, dig deep and take an honest look at how we are showing up to our environments in chaotic times.  This is particularly important when we are forced to recluse ourselves and work remotely, many are surrounded by kids and loved ones throughout the working day, adding stress and congestion to their day.

Below are two things you can do immediately to show up for yourself:

  • Implement a simple mindfulness routine.  In our house, we are having a “morning meeting” where our family meets at 7:30am at the dining room table.   We have a fresh cup of coffee or tea, we bring our journals and pens and we start with a moment of gratitude and meditation.  This simple act builds gratitude, grounding and routine into an otherwise directionless day.
  • Build a trust circle.  This is the time to leverage that network of trusted friends, family and co-workers you’ve spent time fostering.  Isolation can have detrimental effects on all of us, if not managed.  This is the time to start regular text strings, direct message groups, virtual “cooler” conversations.  Leave room in your schedule to have ad-hoc check-ins and phone calls.  These small acts may seem insignificant, and yet these acts can build an incredible sense of connection and energy.

Leading Our Teams

I next look at the teams I’m managing, including the teams I’m a part of.  How do I show up in a helpful, compassionate and patient way for my teams and my peers?  When tension, confusion and exhaustion are high, teams need leaders and peers to embody balancing characteristics such as calm and clarity.  Individuals who are experiencing distress may not be acting in rational ways and may end up overcompensating for their actual feelings.  Be the change you want to see in your teams – hold the calm, hold compassion in your heart and lead in that way.

Below are two things you can do today to lead during this time:

  • Lead with love first.  Yes, I said it… love belongs in business and this is the perfect time to have the courage to act on that.  When our teams feel anxiety, stress and pressure build, we as leaders have a unique opportunity to change the course of that energy.  We have the opportunity to hold these stressful situations in love, to think of each individual as a human with a heart who needs love, belonging and compassion.  When someone comes to you, angry or frustrated, instead of feeding into that energy try pausing and listening.  Think of one way that you can respond genuinely from the heart instead of feeling that you have to uphold a stoic façade.
  • Be brief, be clear, give due dates.  When individuals are working remotely, particularly with children and extended family members at home, they may be pulled in many directions throughout the day.  So, once you have a meeting, or a chance to communicate something critical, the message must be on-point.  Don’t embellish, don’t feel the need for extensive explanations – get to the point and make sure you tie ownership and due dates to the ask.  “Thank you for all of your hard work.  I need ____, by ____.  Thank you, again!”  Not only will your teams be more successful, this will also ensure communications are not misinterpreted or lost in the chaos.  Believe it or not, this type of clear and concise action will relieve stress and anxiety. 

So remember…

  1. Love First
  2. Be Mindful
  3. Build Trust
  4. Be Brief and Be Clear

Thank you for going forth compassionately and making our world a better place for all!

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