I appreciate how much the term “balance” has been used in conversations, writings, and presentations. I looked up the definitions to gain a deeper understanding of the meaning of the word; and the application it has relative to leadership and organizational development.
- An even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.
- A condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
- Keep or put (something) in a steady position so that it does not fall.
- Offset or compare the value of (one thing) with another.
I have often been asked why many of our models have four and eight dimensions or factors. My answer has been simply…balance.
Leading from the Helm has eight spokes; and each model within uses 8 dimensions or factors. Each provides the opportunity to assess strengths and identify opportunities for improvement.
Within balance are the concepts of strength and weakness. There has been a lot written on the need to focus on our strengths. In my experience, overreaching in this area can result in being out of balance. As a good friend of mine likes to say, if we only use our strengths (like a hammer), everything starts to look like a nail. Balancing strengths with weakness results in opportunities for development.
When working with personality styles of individuals on teams (Insights® Discovery), each member can identify with one of the eight styles. As part of our activities, we introduce them to team members who sit on the opposite side of the wheel as themselves. Why? People with opposite personalities give us balance. Exploring what Carl Jung likes to call “our shadow side” (opposite type) it is a powerful development activity in self-reflection. You begin to learn more of who you really are.
Taking that one step farther, we can work with the eight dimensions of leadership (Insights® Discovery) to build more effective leaders. It is important to understand their strengths in each dimension. We then focus on opportunities to develop. What I like about this model that it starts with the four manifestations of leadership. For me, it starts with Centered Leadership, then moves to Relationship Leadership, then Visionary Leadership, and finally Results Leadership. You need to understand yourself better before you can connect at a deeper level with others. Once you do that, others are more willing to follow and you can create a shared vision with them that produces sustainable results.
Teams also can work to create balance in their effectiveness using the Insights® Discovery team effectiveness model. There are four pillars that must be balanced for the team to be effective. From there, you can build on the eight elements to assess your effectiveness and begin working on actionable improvement as a team.
There are two other models that also help create balance within organizations:
First, is the 8 Styles of Culture.
The 8 Styles of Culture allow your organization to focus on the elements of culture that matter most to help drive your strategy, and again, create balance. I recently facilitated a session with a thirty-person leadership team. Each identified where they perceived the current culture to be on each style, and the results were all over the map. They then had a very rich conversation surrounding where they should align around each style to be most effective as an organization. This conversation helped to create a common understanding of what each style meant to each of the leaders, and what they could collectively do to create both balance and alignment within their organization.
Here is the same 8 Styles of Culture model mapped out to demonstrate its balanced nature:
Secondly, the 8 Factors of Engagement.
The 8 Factors of Engagement is a balanced approach to continuous employee engagement. Each of the factors honors each of the eight personality styles of individuals, teams, and the organization. Our clients use a balanced approach of working with two factors every quarter of the year, that way it is not an annual event, but it is an ongoing approach to continuous engagement. Clients that have used this model have realized immediate benefit from their team taking an active – real-time approach to creating a culture of engagement.
Please contact the Leading from the Helm crew to learn more about bringing balance into your leadership style and organization.