Chaos within a management team is inevitable. We define chaos as anything that takes the team out of its comfort zone. Usually when a team or individual senses that there is “chaos ahead”, they try to avoid or minimize the issue. This is completely natural!! Who WANTS chaos?!
The shift here is to know that chaos is not only inevitable, it is a necessary and important predicate to help the individual and the team perform at a higher level.
So how does a team embrace the chaos rather than avoid it? It starts by changing your perspective about the purpose of chaos and invites you to lean into the discomfort that it brings. For those individuals and teams that can move into the chaos, our experience is that it will lead to important discovery for everyone involved.
So, how do you do that? Start by changing what Chaos stands for by remembering an acronym that you can use to your advantage:
Curious – when chaos shows up, shift from defensiveness to curiosity to see what is going on with the team or what is it about me that is contributing to this drama.
Happy – be glad that the chaos is here to get all the underlying angst out in the open so it can be dealt with. It’s much better to get the elephants out in the open rather than letting them fester in the shadows.
Actively listen – tune in to really understand where everyone is coming from rather than tuning others out so that up you can formulate your response. This is one of the most critical skill sets for individuals within top performing teams.
Open mindset vs. closed mindset – remember that everyone is working for the same goal – improved results – so don’t take things so personally and be open to a constructive debate.
Surrender – our experience with chaos shows us that some positive will ultimately come if we can just stay with the chaos and not shut it down because it’s uncomfortable. So trust that the process will lead to something meaningful. Let go of controlling the outcome to protect a preconceived idea of what winning looks like.
So the next time that chaos shows up – shift into being curious, happy, actively listening, with an open mindset, and surrender that this is ultimately a positive thing. You will be surprised at how much more effective you will be in the chaos and how much you – and the team – will grow in the process.