When working through an extended trough of chaos, many leaders are focused on getting lots of things done. They want order and predictability to be once again the norm. They are very conscious that cash flow can make or break an organization so they are constantly focused on the financial health of the organization. As they race from meeting to meeting, the goal often is to get all of the things that are creating the feeling of chaos back under control. The difficulty is that many leaders forget a simple truth in their rush to get this done, namely that actions speak louder than words.
Every day people listen to what leaders say. They try hard to discern what is the message being sent. They interpret everything as either positive or negative. And for the most part, they define things as negative during the trough of chaos. If the leader is feeling overwhelmed in the tough of chaos, the follower is feeling lost and has no idea what or why this is all happening.
Here is where the best leaders step up to the challenges before. They understand that not everyone is going to hear directly from them. Therefore, they focus on making sure their message to the organization is clear, concise and can be easily cascaded down into the organization. They focus on core themes and recognize that it may take time for people to understand all that is being communicated.
They also are extremely thoughtful in their actions. In particular, they always conduct themselves with the utmost integrity. This means treating everyone, from the maintenance and the house cleaning staff to an SVP or a member of the board with dignity and respect. Being courteous and kind is not a show but a reflection of character and clarity. They recognize that role modeling integrity is vital to helping everyone move forward together.
This week, define the core themes you are going to talk about during the next 90 days as you move through your extended trough of chaos. And then role model clarity, respect and integrity with every fiber of your being. Do not slip up because actions always speak louder than words.