Leadership during Chaos requires Reality and Hope


Infusing Hope without Perpetrating False Realities is what leadership during chaos demands.

History books are filled with accounts of men and women stepping up to ensure strong leadership during chaos. Leadership tends to call up one’s better angels.

There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year.

Between quarantine, murder hornets, civil unrest, and sky sand, we are all looking over our shoulders for what’s next. It’s really difficult to maintain a positive outlook when everyday life is so affected.

I recently recorded a video for my #MissionLeadership course to go into the Effective and Inspiring Communication section about a critical piece of great leadership. Just above is a clip from it. Great leaders need the ability to define reality and the talent to infuse hope.

Even though 2020 has thrown more curveballs than Nolan Ryan, we now know it’s just not going to be a fastball kind of year. That’s the reality. It’s been rough and there’s no disputing it. So many have suffered. The losses continue. Lives and livelihoods have toppled over like chess pieces. It’s surreal in many ways, perhaps because we’ve watched a similar scene in a Dustin Hoffman movie. Life is pretty different now. Many of us, myself included, had business trips planned. We aren’t sure when we can safely travel overseas again. We are relegated to Zoom conferencing for everything from staff meetings to birthday parties.

It’s been weird.

We are all witness to many epically historical moments, some, that I hope, will be the catalyst for equality and good.

Leadership during chaos needs to lay the truth bare. Skirting reality to pander platitudes is not leadership. People can’t help fix any type of problem if they don’t know the seriousness or scope of the problem. Leadership during chaos calls for veracity. Once truth is established, a great leader will inspire and soothe those in his charge with hope.

Negativity, trouble, drama, and trainwrecks are magnetic in their attractiveness to the human species. I don’t know why, but I don’t see it changing. A great leader will defuse the theatrics of a given situation and embolden people to carry on and triumph over adversity. Leadership during chaos requires the careful balance of reality and hope.

If you’re a leader who is challenged this year, I invite you to join my #MissionLeadership course!


  1. Mathieu Camire

    So powerful John! As always! You put words on my way of thinking and acting since march of this year!

    You have always been a Great mentor to me and you are still a loud voice in my head!

    Thank you!

    • John Addison

      Mathieu glad you enjoyed this article!
      See you at the top because the bottom is too crowded!

  2. Lily

    I love to listen this type of motivation everyday!

    • John Addison

      Glad you enjoyed this article Lily. See you at the top because the bottom is too crowded!


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“The scarcest resource in the world is not oil, it’s leadership.”

As Co-CEO of the largest independent financal services company in North America, John Addison’s skill as a leader was tested and honed daily. He retired in 2015 after taking the company and it’s people to massive heights. He’s just not done helping people get to the top. Today, he’s at the helm of Addison Leadership Group, INC working daily to mentor and educate new leaders.