As a child, riding a seesaw was fun, wasn’t it? Well, except when you didn’t have equal weight on both sides—then it was just out of balance and someone got stuck in mid-air. In organizations, leadership often reflects this same unbalanced tilt. Leaders tend focus either on results or on relationships, but a highly effective leader balances both.
Today and tomorrow, Promotional Consultant Today examines the fine balance that leaders must achieve to be effective in their roles.
Identify your natural bent. Begin by examining the two columns below and deciding which list of behaviors best describes your “natural” talents. This indicates your natural leadership style and predicts the direction of your tilt as well as the area in which you need to work to improve your balance. If you can’t determine your natural bent, then ask someone who knows you well.
Results Oriented Relationship Oriented
Take charge, decisive Encouraging, supportive
Introverted, focused Trusting
High standards, task oriented Good listener
Challenging, speaks directly Gives positive feedback
Logical, organized Concerned and caring
Skeptical Develops others
How do you gain a better balance? First, accept the fact that most of your strengths are natural—we are born with them and are naturally out of balance. You don’t need to give up who you are or what you have, and you don’t need to reinvent yourself. Rather, you augment your strengths by adapting new behaviors that will make you more effective. The way you do this is to intentionally learn a few behaviors in your weaker area that bring you more in balance. The reason this is so hard is that it’s not natural, and therefore often feels very awkward.
Pick one weak area and focus on this skill today. Do you lack decisiveness? Make a decision today that will have an impact on your team. Do you have a hard time trusting your team members? Delegate an important project today. Take one step closer to the middle of the seesaw, then share your results with PCT.
Source: Lee Ellis is a speaker and the author of Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons from the Hanoi Hilton, in which he shares his experiences as a Vietnam POW and highlights leadership lessons learned in the camps. As president of Leadership Freedom, a leadership and team development consulting and coaching company, Ellis consults with Fortune 500 senior executives in the areas of hiring, team building, executive development and succession planning.