Almost by definition, leadership involves influencing people — whether that is through direct action and orders, or through indirect influence, the end result is that a leader convinces people to take action toward a particular goal or through particular means.
Generally speaking, this is a good thing — a good, strong leader can create a vision of the potential future that others want to work toward bringing about. However, there is also a hidden side of leadership that’s often overlooked, the “dark side” of leadership that can actually cause more randomization and chaos than it can structure and vision.
Throughout my career as a product manager, I’ve encountered leaders who didn’t realize the actual impacts of their actions on the teams that they were leading. These folks didn’t intend to cause chaos and randomization, but they were not cognizant of the subtle effects that their roles had on what otherwise would have been innocuous suggestions or comments.
Let’s look at how some common leadership situations can result in unintended chaos…