Are you more structure or flow: A 2021 leadership lesson
If there’s anything we’ve learned recently, it’s that anything is possible. ANYTHING.
A pandemic, effective vaccines developed in less than one year, an armed invasion of the U.S. Capitol by white supremacists, the first bi-racial woman Vice President, the list goes on and on.
Effective leaders have to deal with uncertainty and possibility at the same time.
That means effective leaders have to navigate a polarity between structure and flow.
The polarity is a continuum and individuals tend to have a side that they prefer.
Are you more structure? Or are you more flow?
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m more of a structure person. I like to-do lists. I like routine. I like order. I like predictability. I think of myself as disciplined and rigorous.
Fluid situations stress me out. I’d say I’m 80% structure and 20% flow.
But as a leader, I’m missing out on context and perspective when I ignore flow. So one of my leadership practices this year is to lean into my flow state — even when it doesn’t feel good.
(1) Be aware that a polarity between structure and flow exists.
(2) Notice when I’m relying on structure out of habit nature or fear.
(3) Decide whether to try something less rigid and more open.
For instance, I have a to-do list process that has served me very well throughout my career. I have adapted it for my personal life as well. It is structure through and through.
But I realized that my personal life could use a little more flow. So I’ve revamped that to-do list and have created a more spacious and loving reminder of the key areas of development that are important to me personally.
I’m hoping this practice will help me develop my flow muscle and allow me to move more confidently in situations that will inevitably require flexibility.
What about you? How can you practice your opposite polarity preference?