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Article No.: 15-4, April 1, 2015

Article Title: Leadership in Balance:  New Habits of the Mind

Author: Linda Gravett, Ph.D., SPHR, CEQC

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To research our 2014 book, Leadership in Balance:  New Habits of the Mind, Dr. John Kucia and I interviewed CEO’s and COO’s from successful organizations around the country.  We discovered that those leaders who have found a balance between getting results and leveraging the talents of their workforce have eight ways of thinking in common.  If you aspire to be a leader at any level, I encourage you to build these ways of thinking into your approach to leadership.

  1. Approaches leadership as a relationship not a position.
    A leader in balance is an active listener who wants to build understanding across the boundaries of title and position.  He or she listens to appreciate and understand the other’s perspective and to learn how others can inform their way of making decisions.  A leader in balance strives to create bonds with colleagues at all levels, regardless of position, in order to have a firm foundation of trust.  A leader in balance possesses personal humility yet has “organizational ego”, or a pride and ownership in the organization’s success.
  2. Understands that the leader embodies the brand promise.
    A leader in balance embodies the values and principles of the organization.  If transparency is a value, for example, the leader shares information across levels and invites quality dialogue.  A leader in balance sets the tone for what is valued by his or her day-by-day actions. A leader in balance understands that trust is the essential foundation for collaboration, balanced with normal instincts for competition.

  3. Believes that mission drives the numbers.
    A leader in balance focuses attention on purpose, mission and values of the organization and doesn’t allow distractions that steer the company away from its mission.  A leader in balance realizes that a sole focus on the bottom line may lead to short term thinking, not long term life.  A leader in balance understands that interdependence and collaboration are essential to accomplish the purpose and mission in any organization.

  4. Understands collaboration must have a business purpose.
    A leader in balance is a pragmatist who understands that you can’t get good results if you can’t collaborate.  A leader in balance demonstrates positive regard for collaboration because of successful experiences that have led to personal maturity and new insights.

  5. Thinks “outside of the pyramid” in order to share power and spread leadership throughout the organization.
    A leader in balance sees the present reality, yet encourages movement toward the future reality and ponders the future shape and structure of the organization.  A leader in balance envisions a new structure, an internal network of creative people collaborating on issues that require learning, intrapreneurship, creativity and innovation.

  6. Believes teaching and leadership have a great deal in common.
    A leader in balance is both a teacher and a leader, which is accomplished by asking hard questions and stimulating learning in search of reality and truth.   A leader in balance knows a master teacher must be a master learner who listens, is observant and curious.  A leader in balance encourages learning through coaching.

  7. Understands that at the center of collaboration is a personal comfort with and valuing of diversity of people, ideas and ways of thinking.
    A leader in balance understands that collaboration requires a level of individual and organizational cultural competence.  A leader in balance allows people to learn, grow and trust by spending time listening and getting to know one another in a collaborative community.  A leader in balance is culturally competent and comfortable with diversity of ideas and people, gender, ethnicity, race and nationality.

  8. Believes that the challenge of leading change is not about leadership in control, but leadership in balance.

    A leader in balance believes that collaboration is a means to leadership in balance and believes that a collaborative leader is an integrated person, not someone who grabs hold of techniques.  A leader in balance is comfortable with ambiguity and change, with giving direction and making decisions


If you have any questions or need more information about this article, please complete our Contact Form, or contact Dr. Gravett by telephone at 513-753-8870.

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