Chaos: Exercising Control

“Chaos isn’t a pit.
Chaos is a ladder.
Many who try to climb it fail, and never get to try again.
The fall breaks them.
And some are given a chance to climb, but refuse…”

George R.R. Martin.

In light of the recent chaotic happenings in the world, these words have rung in my head all week.

From organisations that have morphed into cult groups to ideologies designed to aid minority groups that have morphed into oppression, there are so many movements which began with noble intentions that have spiralled out of control, so wildly that their origins can no longer be found. All we can see is the chaos that has resulted from the mob action.

As a leader or initiator of a group or movement, it is necessary to understand what you are starting and what you intend to do with it. When a movement lacks leadership and vision, chaos seeps in subtly and what began innocuously, and with noble intentions becomes a hydra; a many-headed monster that can no longer be controlled. Here are some pointers to preventing chaos in whatever team movement you lead or belong to.

1. Have a vision that all your members understand

Write the vision and make it plain!

Without vision, you cannot have a sense of direction. It is impossible to detect when your team is veering off track without a knowledge of where the “track” is.

In movements organised to oppose or protest against injustice, it is especially easy to become violent. The members are angry, like wool doused in fuel, ready to be ignited by the first person who lets his temper loose and yells, “attack!” Then, the climb on the ladder of chaos begins.
Sometimes at the risk of being considered too uptight, it is necessary to ensure that everyone understands exactly what is to be done and stays on track.

2. Set an example and ensure good interpersonal relationships

Control is almost always not an overt behaviour. Whether as a team member or a leader, ensure that you set an example for others to follow while relating well with them. As you behave in the manner in which you would like others to, they understand the group’s purpose through you, and encourage one another to behave in that same manner.

3. Choose your core members carefully

Those who will partner with you in leadership must be like-minded. Mob violence occurs with little planning when instigated because the allure of defying authority naturally appeals to the human nature. Thus, when a core member falls out of line, many others follow and may be led astray. It is important to ensure that headline members are well on-track.

How else do you think a movement can be effectively led and controlled? We’d like to hear what you think!


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