Leadership is a Both/And; Rarely an Either/Or

I marvel at the amount of time spent:

  • Seeking to define leadership and management. Can we just do the work, focusing on people, principles and results; and not get hung up on labels?
  • Trying to prove that their list of leadership characters traits is the one and only. Can we agree that the list of worthy traits is long, that most are needed and that our time would be better spent leading than on creating a finite list that tomorrow’s business needs would change?
  • Espousing that one can only lay claim to being a leader if they have followers. Can we agree to disagree here and respect each other’s opinion?
  • Vehemently asserting that leadership is only measured by results? Again, can we agree to disagree and respect each other’s opinion?
  • Attempting to prove that managers do things right and that leaders do the right thing. Can we say that both managers and leaders do things right and do the right things?

Life is big and complicated and fun and challenging. So are those things we call leadership and management.

Rarely is life and/or leadership an either/or end game. It’s usually more of a both/and dance in which we balance opposing ends of an infinity loop. “Avoid the tyranny
of the OR and embrace the genius of the AND,” as Collins and Porras point out.

What do you think?

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