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Senior Correspondent

Confusion, instability, and chaos describe organizations with poor leaders.

Confusion and leadership, however, are partners. Sometimes you create and encourage others to work through confusion. It’s the path to solutions; it’s innovative and invigorating.

The dance with confusion is dangerous, however. Confusion is never an end in itself. The purpose of using confusion is to create clarity. Confusion paralyzes; clarity enables.

Endersbe, Therrien and Wortmann in their lucid book, The Three Commitments of Leadership, believe clarity, stability, and rhythm create great leaders. Ask yourself:

  1. Are you clear?
  2. Are you creating stability?
  3. Does your work have rhythm?

Dangerous confusion:

You can’t lead in a persistent state of confusion; people won’t follow. Persistent confusion challenges, dilutes, and eventually destroys leaders.

Leading through confusion:

Confusion precedes clarity; it’s inevitable. Confusion is useful as long as you have confidence and strategies to face its challenges.

Face confusion with questions.

I’m a sucker for good questions. The Three Commitments of Leadership offers powerful questions for leaders committed to achieving greatness through clarity. For example:

5 core questions:

  1. Whom do you serve?
  2. What need do you satisfy?
  3. How do you define success?
  4. What values govern your actions?
  5. Where do you communicate the messages everyone needs?

Three task clarifiers:

  1. What are your most important tasks?
  2. What do you need (resources, support, opportunities) to be successful?
  3. How will you measure your efforts and results?

Three logistical questions:

  1. Is everything you need to know to be successful clear?
  2. Is there a stability that prevents fear, stress, and drama?
  3. Is there rhythm to the way people work together?

One expediter: What’s next? (My favorite way to end conversations.)

How do you create stability personally and organizationally?

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