Balanced Leadership offers a new model for organizing the way you look at relationships and challenges. It has been described as elegantly simple yet profoundly useful.
It begins by recognizing there are passion-based and fear-based energies in all relationships. It is important to acknowledge that everyone has both these energies to call upon. Away from fear and towards passion are the two fundamental drives in the human condition. However, one may come more naturally to an individual than the other.
You cannot evoke both energies at the same time just as you can’t push and pull at the same time. This is a fundamental understanding of Balanced Leadership. You can oscillate from one to the other but the operating systems of the two worlds are different so you can’t use them simultaneously. Indeed, they are opposites of each other. The challenge it to determine if fear-based or passion-based methods will best serve you.
You need to behave differently when you are in the fear-based world than when you are in the passion-based world. For example, in the fear-conquering world the response to stress is ‘fight or flight’. In the passion-embracing world it is to ‘tend and befriend’. A Balanced Leader has the ability to pause and determine the best response to a stressful situation. What action she chooses to take depends on which world she is in. If there is a clear goal and limited resources ‘fight or flight’ is required. When the situation calls for exploration of the meaning in the work, improved workplace engagement, or creative innovation ‘tend and befriend’ will produce much better results.
Here’s the interesting thing. In today’s workplace, most leadership situations and most jobs require skills of the passion-based world (D. Pink, Drive, Goleman, Emotional Intelligence) yet businesses keep applying fear-based methods to resolve them.
Finally, Balanced Leadership recognizes the power of story to motivate a group, and, build a collective sense of belonging. It recognizes that there are three universal stories that play out in the workplace and our personal lives. There is a beginning, a middle and an end story. This is also seen as a relationship with yourself, with others and with the cosmos. You take up your power, you use it well with others, and you release it when you can see the bigger picture.
Each of these three stories has a fear-based and a passion-based expression resulting in six archetypal journeys. These journeys play out in the workplace in a thousand unique ways everyday (as in Campbell’s “the hero with a thousand faces”). In looking at a study of two million US government employees, Daniel Goleman found “just one cognitive ability distinguished star performers from average: pattern recognition…” The Leader who can identify these patterns of behaviour has a distinct advantage in the workplace. When you can recognize which archetype you are dealing with, you understand the essential drives of a person, the environment you need to create to support them, and the direction they would be most productively moving in.
Seeing the archetypes at play in yourself can also be a profound advantage as a Leader. This self-awareness allows you to consciously work through your issues. You can build your strengths and grow to best meet the needs of the workplace and also find personal job satisfaction.
Balanced Leadership recognizes what we all know intuitively. We have two ways of being. By naming them both we can expand our options as Leaders and draw upon both the fear-conquering and the passion-embracing drives in all of us.