My conceptual paradise is a 2 x 2 box where two dichotomies are juxtaposed. Are you in this box or that one? Then the game of trying to figure out which box you belong, “Are you in box A or box B?”, “What type of leader are you?” “Are you transformational or transactional?” “Are you inwardly directed or outwardly directed?” “Are you left or right wing?”
Consultants have made a fortune helping people and organizations figure out which box they belong in.
The problem with these dichotomies is that they simplify the world. They give too much credence to clean, conceptual thinking.
It depends on the situation. You may be a transactional leader one day and a transformative leader the next. You may be internally directed one day and externally directed a week from Tuesday.
And then there is what I consider to be the ultimate knee-jerk dichotomy?
This dichotomy between leading and managing is an indulgence in simplicity that we can no longer afford. Especially when asking ourselves what core competencies do we need to move in the future?