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CHAOS IS A GIFT? Leading Oneself in Uncertain and Complex Environments

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CHAOS IS A GIFT? Leading Oneself in Uncertain and Complex Environments

Edited by Ebben van Zyl, Andrew Campbell & Liezel Lues

ISBN: 9781869228606

Publishing Date: August 2020

  • R379,00




“Chaos does not mean total disorder. Chaos means a multiplicity of possibilities. Chaos is from the ancient Greek words that means a thing that is birthed from the void. Chaos creates the opening for new possibilities.” 
(Jok Church (n.d.))

Can chaos be a gift?

When dealt with effectively, it can lead to greater innovation, better teamwork, better interpersonal relations and better performance.

But in order to achieve this within a changing and demanding VUCA environment, leaders and non-leaders must first learn to lead themselves. This guide will show you how to do exactly that within our own turbulent times.

Chaos is a Gift? offers practical realities and specific recommendations on how to lead yourself in the private and public sectors, the academic world and conflict/post-conflict environments.

This book is ideal for leaders in broad range of environments, including the business, private, academic, and public sectors, and conflict/post-conflict environments.


“After reading this book, I’m convinced leaders are called in a VUCA time like ours, to lead themselves and others by finding vision where others only see volatility, to find clarity and courage where others only see complexity.” - Prof Jacobus Kok, Co-Director RCEC, Leuven and Contributing Editor of “Leading in a VUCA World” (Springer)

“Written for multiple sectors from diverse voices; this book illuminates the importance of self-leadership in a VUCA world.” - Cynthia Cherrey, President and CEO, International Leadership Association

“Chaos creates opportunities. Furthermore, it gives you the opportunity to learn something about yourself and how to exert yourself in your work environment.” - Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean: Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, University of the Free State, South Africa

“Chaos is a Gift? could hardly be a more timely publication. The contributors consider the question: How should we comport ourselves in VUCA times? The answers they give are both wise and important.” - Dr Steven van den Heuvel, Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at the ETF, Belgium

“Yes! Chaos is a gift, inviting and challenging every leader to dig deep for spiritual renewal and to collaborate with others for the betterment of our world. I highly recommend this book!” - Dr R. Ray Klapwyk, Educational Consultant Instructor in Educational Leadership at Trinity Western University, Canada

“This book shows you what you must learn and model in order to lead in todays’ world.” - Dr Don Page, former foreign policy analyst in the Canadian federal government and academic vice president at Trinity Western University, Canada


Professor Ebben Van Zyl is currently Professor in the Department of Industrial Psychology (University of the Free State, South Africa). Professor van Zyl has published 48 scientific publications, 39 research projects and has presented 45 papers at national and international conferences with regard to industrial psychology and leadership related topics. He is inter alia also the editor and co-writer of the book: Leadership in the African Context (2009; 2016). He received the awards: ‘Top Performer: Research’ in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (1999 and 2015, University of the Free State) as well as: ‘Research Excellence’ from the University of the Free State (2004). His book, Leadership in the African Context, was nominated as one of the best books at the University of The Free State (2017). He also acts as a consultant for various companies in the fields of medico-legal investigations, leadership, conflict and peace management, stress measurement and management, as well as human resource management.

Dr Andrew Campbell is the Director, International Peace and Leadership Institute. In addition, Dr Campbell, as a retired senior military officer, works for the Department of Defence specialising in Counter-Terrorism and Global Security Cooperation. Dr Campbell possesses a Doctorate in Global Leadership from the Institute of Indiana Technology, Fort Wayne, IN. and a Master’s in Diplomacy in International Conflict Management from Norwich University, Northfield, VT. Dr Campbell is a recognised national and international speaker on peace leadership and has addressed the World Society of Victimology at The Hague 2012, Peace Leadership Conference 2017, International Leadership Association 2011–2018, and the European Consortium for Political Research 2015–2017. He is widely published in both national and international journals.

Liezel Lues, Ph.D. Public Management, is an associate professor of Public Administration and Management at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She previously held the position of Head of Department following a term as Programme Director of the Department of Public Administration and Management. She was respectively the Deputy- and Chairperson of the Association of Southern African Departments of Public Administration and Management. At present, she is the co-chairperson of the working group VI – Public Sector Leadership and Governance of the International Associations of Schools and Institutes of Administration. Her research interests include Public Management Transitions, particularly the role of leadership accountability. She has published extensively in this field. Her latest work appears in the International Journal of Transforming Government: People, Process, and Policy.  Her latest academic book chapters focus respectively on Peace leadership in the public and private sectors and Leadership in the African Context. She has been awarded the Faculty Economic and Management Sciences Best senior research award and is an NRF-rated scientist.


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