Dilemmas are part of a leader’s routine. Should you follow your own gut feeling or should you listen to what others say? Should you offer the market what you want to sell or should you offer what the market says it wants? Should you tell your team members what to do or should you allow them to make their own decisions?
As you can see, the questions above are either-or questions, and choosing one option automatically excludes the other. If you approach your leadership challenges this way (many of us do), you are always confronted with the risk of choosing one option at the expense of the other. That evokes fear in you, and sometimes so much fear that it paralyzes you and disturbs you with anxiety and stress.
My experience as an executive coach has shown me that there is a way-out. Leaders profit when they realize that the two options they see are only extremes of a continuum. They feel empowered when they discover that there are many more options, many more shades of grey (50 I have heard), between the black and white extremes the normally see.
That’s when I came up with the idea of The Leadership Pendulum. The Leadership Pendulum is a tool that helps leaders become aware of what other possibilities there are between the two extremes they at the moment see. Moving from one extreme to the other, leaders are invited to translate what the different pendulum positions mean to their current challenge. After translating what those different positions mean, they decide which best to use or implement.
Leaders profit when they realize that the two options they see are only extremes of a continuum. “~ Sandro da Silva Tweet this!
It’s no rocket science. Try it yourself:
- Take a blank piece of paper and draw a pendulum on it.
- Think about a challenge you are facing at this moment, which you experience as an either-or situation, a dilemma.
- Now write down either option at one extreme of the pendulum’s trajectory.
- Start now moving the pendulum away from one extreme towards the other extreme. Stop at different places in the pendulum’s trajectory and translate into words what that position means to your challenge. Carry on until you have reached the other extreme.
- Reflect on your options, make a choice and act.
The Leadership Pendulum has proven to be very useful in a variety of situations. I invite you to try it a few times and share your experience here. My clients usually say that it frees them from the conflict and the stress of dilemma, and allows to reconcile two options that seemed mutually exclusive. That makes them feel comfortable and at ease, and I hope it does the same to you.