Savoring Leadership Mints With Chopsticks

Remember the first time you used a pair of chopsticks? Chances are you ended up with a splattering of sweet and sour sauce on your shirt or blouse.  No wonder.  You were trying to “manage” that morsel of Hunan chicken into your mouth.

Later you learned how to use both chopsticks at the same time to manage AND lead simultaneously to get the food into your mouth with no splatter.

Mastering chopsticks demands both stability (management) AND flexibility (leadership) at the same time as you can see in the following basic steps to eating with chopsticks:

  1. Hold the lower chopstick firmly against your middle finger.
  2. Hold the upper chopstick as you would hold a pencil.
  3. Keep the lower chopstick steady (manage for stability) while moving the upper chopstick up and down (lead with flexibility).

That dichotomy — one chopstick stationary and the other chopstick moving — takes some getting used to. So does managing and leading at the same time.

You need both skill sets to be effective in either discipline. You need stability — planning, budgeting, organizing and controlling or management. And you also need flexibility — values, vision, creativity, caring, sharing, framing and strategic positioning or leading.

(This is an excerpt of a newly relaunched book titled
LOVING Like a Leader now available on Amazon.com

 

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