Opposing Leadership Virtues

by | May 1, 2013

Leadership is commonly understood in terms of balancing two basic dualities.

Strategic versus operational leadership defines the “what” of a leader’s work.

Are you positioning your company to be competitive down the road and driving to produce results now? Forceful versus enabling leadership has to do with the “how”. Can you take the lead and make room for other people to contribute? 


Strategic                                                      v                      Operational

Positioning the organisation                                          Focusing the organisation on

for the future                                                                         short – term results


Plans ahead                                               v                      Focuses on results

Takes the long view and has                                           Manages day to day details of

a big – picture perspective                                             of implementation


Pursues growth                                       v                   Maximises efficiency

Seeks ways to grow the business                                  Conserves resources by cutting

and expand capabilities.                                                  costs and being selective about  priorities


Promotes innovation                          v                    Maintains order

Questions the status quo and                                         Gets things done using procedures

encourages new thinking                                                  and processes discipline.




Forceful                                                         v                      Enabling

Exercising influence on the basis                                   Creating conditions for other

of one’s own intellect and energy                                   people to contribute


Takes charge                                              v                     Empowers

Takes initiative, gives direction                                      Gives other people latitude to do

                                                                                                      their jobs


Declares /decides                                   v                      Listens /includes

Takes a position and defends it                                       Seeks input, is open to influence


Pushes                                                            v                      Supports

Sets high expectations and holds                                   Shows appreciation and sensitivity

people accountable