When Leading in Chaos, Embrace Your Authentic-Self, It Might Be the Only Hug You Get!

Recently a few people have asked me who I endorse for president. The question was very simple- “Dan, who are you going to vote for?” My answer was equally simple – “The one who exhibits authentic leadership”. As I have said in many keynote presentations, when leaders find themselves dealing with chaos their real self; their “authentic-self” will come to the surface and manifest itself in the decisions they make.

All of us deal with chaos – you don’t have to be the president of the United States to deal with change, chaos, and paradigm shifts. If you are part of an organization that has three or more people, you will most certainly deal with chaos. Those leaders who can THRIVE in chaos are the ones who understand their authentic self. The “authentic-self” is the totality of our life’s experiences, our education, the places we’ve traveled to, the books we’ve read, our spiritual beliefs, the mentors we’ve learned from, etc. But the building block for the “authentic-self” begins in the initial stages of life — our family upbringing. Regardless if you had a traditional or non-traditional upbringing / childhood – — those initial building blocks of life set the stage for our development and it’s helpful to understand where you come from when you want to know where you are going. Very quickly, here was my situation:

This is photo of my family …. NOT my extended family … just my brothers, sisters, mom and dad. A total of 11 of us. 11 of us lived in a small house of just over 900 square feet. Talk about a chaotic, confusing, and dynamic environment! If you didn’t quickly learn to thrive in chaos in that household, you were left behind and you’d become a victim of the ever shifting paradigms. Growing up in that environment, I learned how to cooperate with others, to use tact, to be forceful without being overbearing, to persevere, and a few things about fair play (Right from Wrong). All of these attributes contributed to who I am and the leader I have become. So … in a nutshell – like you, I am a product of my upbringing, my education, and my career & life experiences. It is these experiences that come to the surface when we are placed in leadership positions. And the more you lead, the more you will deal with change, chaos, and paradigm shifts. The more you lead, the more problems you are required to solve. And the reward for being a good problem solver is – more leadership opportunities and bigger problems to solve! This takes us back to who should occupy THE most chaotic leadership job – The President of the U.S.; and my answer remains the same, “the one who exhibits authentic leadership”. Here’s a hint: Authentic leaders play by the same rules as everyone else; they do NOT expect (nor deserve) special treatment just because they occupied a high-level government office.

If you are interested in more information about Major Dan Pantaleo’s leadership keynote speeches, please see his website at: www.danpantaleo.com