What makes a star leader?
Someone once said to me that the definition of maturity is ‘the ability to hold two conflicting thoughts simultaneously’. It seems that this capability, oftentimes described as the ability to manage ambiguity, is core to high performing leaders.
In this blog post Who Are the Stars by Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development & Organisational Change, he describes how he has observed that organisational ‘high-flyers’, as he describes them, have a ‘knack for reconciling opposites – the ability to hold the tension of the opposites’:
‘True stars have the creative ability to manage short-term and long-term orientation, action and reflection, extroversion and introversion, optimism and realism, control and freedom, holistic and atomistic thinking, hard and soft skills.’
This reminds me of how, in our Discovery in Action® program, we often discuss the importance of balance in leading people – undertaking both harder-edged activities such as setting high performance standards and establishing role clarity, as well as softer or more humanistic activities such as showing appreciation and recognition and understanding individuals' motivational drivers.
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