How do you have great compassionate conversations with people who see the world differently than you? How do you be someone who builds bridges and is known for that as opposed to just being right all the time? Tim Arnold tells us that we need to lead with AND.
Actions You Can Take Right Now
- “Leading with AND” is recognizing that there are situations that are not zero-sum games where we simply need to split the pie or chose option A or B. Innovation comes from understanding opposing tensions and growing the pie.
- When you sense resistance, recognize there is wisdom in understanding opposing views. Resist the urge to defend your position or persuade the other side and try to keep a curiosity mindset.
- There are classic opposing tensions that must be managed in every organization. Embrace these, recognize they are complex, and make decisions knowing these opposite forces are at play:
- Become optimistic AND realistic.
- Embrace change AND preserve stability.
- Become profit focused AND purpose driven.
- Have expectations AND extend grace.
- Care for others AND care for yourself.
- Become confident AND remain humble.
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Episode Highlights and Excerpts
We grow up being conditioned that we live in an either/or world - Winners or losers, this or that, right and wrong answers, good or bad. This carries over into the workplace and the way we lead. We are not taught, conditioned, or rewarded for suggesting that there could be multiple right answers.
We make hundreds of decisions each day, many of which are rightly a choice between options or right and wrong. But some are complex and have opposing tensions. These are the ones that require an AND approach.
Examples of opposing tensions are quality versus cost, growth versus profit, and even freedom versus responsibility. The more we can understand these conflicting tensions, the better we can better manage these situations and make better decisions.
As a leader, when you sense resistance remember there is wisdom in resistance. It’s natural to push harder, convince, push back, but we can learn so much from people who have opposing views.
Binary thinking is the enemy of creativity.
People who have really changed the world are masters of managing opposing tensions. People like Mother Theresa or Nelson Mandela were often vilified by both sides because they would not pick either side and declare an enemy.
Today it seems people are becoming more polarized and attached to their positions. This is partially do to confirmation bias which has been accelerated by the fact that we can choose our sources of information and often those confirm what we already believe.
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Tim Arnold spent over two decades helping organizations unite teams, spark change, and get unstuck, with clients that include The United Nations, Citibank, KPMG, Toyota, and Siemens. Arnold brings a real-world perspective to his clients. With advanced degrees in both business and social justice, he can help organizations pursue both profit and purpose. See Tim’s full bio here.
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If you are interested in the full conversation, or past Unleashed guests, you can find all the Unleashed content – blogs, video, podcasts – on our website here.
Each episode of Unleashed is hosted by Results’ CEO Jeff Tetz who spends most of his life deeply caring for others, exploring what makes high performers tick, and helping people unleash their full potential. You’ll find Jeff here on Twitter.
Article by Tim O'Connor