In a recent article by Hill, Brandeau, Truelove and Lineback, they contended that “the heart of innovative problem solving is the need to both unleash individual slices of genius and harness them into collective genius”. In so doing they described six innovative paradoxes:
1. Affirming the individual ……and the group
2. Supporting………and confronting
3. Fostering experimentation and learning……………and performance
4. Promoting improvisation………….and structure
5. Showing patience…………….and urgency
6. Encouraging bottom up initiative………and intervening top down
With something so subjective, as a leader how do you ensure balance? One key rule of thumb is to work towards doing the right thing, at the right time with the right people. Having this level of self awareness and awareness of others creates the environment for selecting where to be on each of the six continuums.
Another good technique to employ is transparent two way communication. This creates an ease of dialogue whereby both parties know and understand what the other is thinking. All too often unclear expectations and poor feedback leads to interpretations and assumptions that do not serve the intended purpose.
Finally we can also learn from what Jim Collins offered as Level 5 Leadership in Good to Great; he talked about a blend of Professional Resolve and Personal Humility. In an uncanny way, with the above the humility has a strong tendency on the left, whereas the resolve is very present on the right.