The more senior one gets in an organization, the more closely one is observed. Your people make meaning out of everything you say and do, to emulate you and dutifully follow your lead, or to strategically oppose you. At the Executive level in particular, the way you act is a careful balancing act that requires your constant attention.
A few examples of important leadership attributes that must be present, but also balanced, in an effective leader:
Ambition / Humility
Use your smarts to get where you want to go, but acknowledge that luck and the hard work of others plays a significant role in your success. (I just learned about the term “Humbition” in an article by the Frances Hesselbein Leadership Institute.)
Courage / Consideration
Speak the truth boldly, but with awareness of the feelings and perspectives of all stakeholders.
Independence / Collaboration
Don’t hesitate to do it yourself and move things along quickly, but identify where the richness of a group effort is an asset.
Looking Forward / Looking Back
Create a compelling vision unclouded by outdated paradigms, but don’t ignore the wisdom history has to offer.
Making Fact-Based Cases / Using your Intuition
Sometimes you “just know”…but do realize it’s a lot to ask others to follow your hunch.
If each one of the above “opposites” represent two ends of a spectrum, where would you put yourself on each one?