What a leader thinks or what a leader does? Holding two opposing ideas in mind. Shades of gray thinking.

I have been reading “I am Less: Accomplishing More by Doing Less” by Marc Lesser and wanted to share this quote with you.

“Apparently what a leader thinks is more important than what a leader does.”

In his book, March Lesser writes that successful leaders have the predisposition and the capacity to hold in their head two opposing ideas at once. And then, without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other, they’re able to creatively resolve the tension between those opposing ideas by generating a new one that contains elements of the others but is superior to both.

According to Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), the sense of uncertainty allows people to open up and see the new ways of making sense of the world. “It opens up new perspectives. Are you able to hold two opposing ideas in your mind and see both as right? A breakthrough for many leaders is the realization that their business is full of natural tensions that can never be resolved, only managed. Managing opposing ideas, requires a move from black and white thinking to shades of gray thinking.

While the average person is only trained to see the situation from just one perspective, successful leaders can see the same situation from many different perspectives. And more skilled leaders are masters of shifting between multiple perspectives.

To benefit from the insights of the wonders of the mind, you need to hold opposing ideas and perspectives in mind. This is called constructive tension. It is better than holding one thought or perspective in our mind at a time. This ability is not only available to successful leaders. Everyone can benefit from it. For improved results, you can practice this ability with patience without getting paralyzed by fear and anxiety. With practice, you will eventually develop the ability to use your mind for creative and elegant solutions to big picture problems, that were once beyond your reach of imagination.

Want to know more about on this topics, more articles on “Leadership”, “Presence”,  and “Workplace Management”:

A Leader in Corporate Real Estate and Facilities Management, Evrim Ay is the author of “Sustainable Facilities Management” book. In this blog, he makes a strong business case and a compelling argument for “workplace management“, “wellness“, and “productivity“. He believes that the way we are working is no longer working



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