It would seem that there is some TENSION in the air!
Over the past week I have read of and seen the continuing tension between our President-Elect and the press. We are also witnessing the tension evident during the Senate confirmation hearings, continued/growing tension over the whole issue of hacking, and this morning we have announcements of congressional leaders planning to boycott the inauguration All of this can just suck the energy right out of you. Likewise, we had the tension associated with the selection of the Golden Globe winners and Clemson’s comeback to win the National Collegiate Football title, A good tension that sometimes serves to energize and invigorate.
The dictionary gives the word tension a number of definitions, however there are two that reflect what we have been witnessing
- an inner striving, unrest, or imbalance often with physiological indication of emotion
- a state of latent hostility or opposition between individuals or groups
So how does this tie to leadership? If you will recall, last week we considered the importance of self-worth as a key ingredient to being creative. Those who believe in themselves have the self-confidence to risk, dare, and create. Sometimes that confidence is quiet and unassuming, other times it is right out there in your face. And guess what, it can create tension! However, the type of tension (healthy or unhealthy) we create for others is often determined by the leader’s ability to collaborate.
Collaboration, Communication, Creativity and Critical Thinking are key skills needed for success in the 21st Century. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Lawrence Levy considers the need for balance in his article, Finding the Healthy Tension Between Being Confident and Collaborative . He concludes the article with a great thought, “Excellence requires two attributes that make for uneasy bedfellows: bold self-confidence and a willingness to collaborate. When a leader has both, great things happen.”
We cannot control the tension that exists beyond our reach, but we do have ability, through our actions, to create the environment within which we interact with our friends, professional colleagues and family. Let’s do our part to create healthy tension this week. Embrace the Challenge,