I was struck by something I heard Mike Harris say once. He’s a leader I admire greatly (founding CEO of First Direct bank, among other things). Mike said a leader shouldn’t be too attached to his or her own opinions.
This runs counter to how ‘strong’ leadership is usually interpreted, doesn’t it.
I was delighted to find a post on Bob Sutton’s website titled ‘Strong Opinions, Weakly Held’ which backs up what Mike Harris was saying.
Bob draws on the thinking of the Palo Alto Institute For The Future to say that strong leadership today is fundamentally different from what it used to be seen as – successful leaders today hold firm, clear opinions but are ready to let go of them if someone else offers a better one or the market changes direction suddenly.
Head over to Bob’s website to read about it. The link is in the ‘must read’ section in the margin over there —>
And since Seth Godin stole* my phrase “Small is the new Big” as the title for his new book, I at least get the chance to use the variant “Weak is the new Strong” as the title of this post 😉
* (OK, that’s not true. He and I did exchange emails a year ago and I pointed him to the Inspired Leaders Network website where I’d used that heading…that did happen…but I don’t believe at all that it influenced him or that he even saw it: it’s just the zeitgeist; a phrase that was in the ether and right for the time)
Leadership today is largely about embracing paradox and being comfortable with contradiction: that’s what underlies my liking for headlines that pose opposites as similars.