Embrace Tension Not Balance
Balance in life is usually a good thing. We should all strive for balance, not allowing extremes to dictate our tactics and reactions. But the kind of dualities that leaders face every day calls for a better metaphor.
When pivoting between agility and consistency, creativity and critical thinking, hands-on and hands-off approaches, among other pairs, the best leaders will embrace the constant tension between the two ends of any important continuum. Pursue balance and you may under weigh the opportunity or overweigh the challenge. Another duality!
The key is to understand that the tension between dualities is healthy and must be accepted. The needs of the moment may require a leader to pivot quickly without committing to a course of action for too long. They must constantly reassess what is needed now. Rinse and repeat.
All this makes sound leadership much harder than it appears to those who only spectate or criticize from the cheap seats. Accept the tension instead of striking a balance and you will emulate what it really means to embrace continuous change. Balance is for bicycles. Necessary tension is about leadership.
The word picture for tension... the necessary force to construct and maintain bridges.
Tension headaches and anxiety might be the dominant picture that comes to mind, but tension is much more than that!