Saturday, December 7, 2013

Balancing Act

There is always a hotly contested debate (at least among us sports fans) when you try to determine who the best quarterback is. While rating systems, number of awards, and championship rings certainly can factor into that assessment they don't necessarily reveal which athlete performs better under pressure. In fact, there have been recent statistical studies that reveal how the most widely accepted great quarterbacks aren't necessarily the ones that rise to the occasion when circumstances are difficult. The flip-side of that argument is that those that seem to thrive under the most intense pressure are not able to replicate that same success under more calm circumstances. It's an interesting paradox in leadership: the ability to succeed under duress vs. the ability to be successful in times of calm. 

Are you the type of leader who can only perform well under pressure? While this is beneficial in a crisis, it can be detrimental in times of peace. It means that you won't be able to thrive unless there is turmoil, community unrest, or drastic deadlines. 

Do you only perform at your best when things are smooth, with plenty of time to survey the scene and make the right choice? While this is essential for growth and forward progress in stable periods it can lead to avoiding conflict, refusing to take risks, and stunted personal & organizational growth. 

The most successful leader will be able to thrive in both situations even if it takes hard work to create balance and develop the skills necessary for the greatest possible results. Any place we lead will have both sets of circumstances at some point and we will need to make the necessary adaptations to positively persevere. Finding success in both areas won't necessarily make us the greatest leaders of all time, but it will certainly make us more effective.

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