How to Navigate Turmoil without Sinking the Boat

By Dan Rockwell

Unresolved turmoil weakens the knees and squelches creativity.

The companions of turmoil are frustration, helplessness, and regret.

Four sources of turmoil:

#1. Mandates from disconnected leadership. The people at the helm seem stupid when they’re disconnected from the people who row the boat.

#2. Delay. Out-dated processes lead to inefficient habits. Survival demands change.

#3. Improvement. One person’s improvement is another’s disaster.

#4. Conflicting agendas. People pull against each other when direction is foggy and values collide.

4 ways to navigate turmoil:

#1. Walk around. Talk. The worst thing you can do is armor-up and hunker-down during turmoil.

A client of mine challenged himself to walk around for 30 minutes a day. People wondered what was wrong during the first week. But by the third week, he started having real conversations.

1. Get to know people.

2. Listen, don’t try to fix everything.

3. Be curious.

4. Don’t minimize frustrations or you’ll seem out of touch.

#2. Focus on others. “It’s not about you,” applies double during organizational turmoil. Look outward.

#3. Pour energy into things within your control. Frustration focuses on things it doesn’t want and can’t control.

People want you to eliminate turbulence, control upper-management, and make them happy. You can’t.

Events and people you can’t control keep you up at night. What can you control?

#4. Choose how to show up.

When you walk into the office, decide how you want to occur to your team. Perhaps today is a day for humility, curiosity, candor, empathy, or confidence.

Turmoil is the reason to bring your best self to work.

Remember who you are. Turn people toward authentic identity. What do people like us do in situations like this?

What are some sources of organizational turmoil?

How might leaders successful navigate turmoil?

This post was previously published on Leadership Freak and is republished here with a Creative Commons license.

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Photo credit: iStock