Are you a Symmetrical Leader? Should you be?

In a post last year I talked about the concept of Symmetrical Leadership.  As a refresher, here is the definition:

Symmetrical Leaders are change agents who are able to effectively balance the need for results with the need for maintaining relationship with others.

This may sound quite elementary, but I offer that being a leader who is symmetrical, one who is in balance, is harder than most think and we are always listing either toward results or relationship in every situation we are dealing with.

I’ll spend a little time today talking about the key ingredients of symmetrical leaders and will then revisit this concept with more supportive information next week.

Results and relationship are two key ingredients to everything that we do.  Every project involves dealing with both and the effective leader, the symmetrical leader, is always working to maintain the balance between the two.  What are some of the key factors to consider when being an effective leader?  Here are a few to consider:


  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?
  • How Much?


  • Communication
  • Conflict
  • Self-Awareness
  • Other-Awareness

This is a basic list of the items to consider in every situation, every project, where the leaders works to get things done, to make improvement, through and with others.

Often we see leaders get “out of balance” when they lean too much toward the Results or Relationship side.  Just like the scale shown above, we strive to maintain that balance and we often are not where we need to be.

What does it look like when we tip to the Results side?

  • People are expendable
  • Burnout
  • Conflict occurs
  • $$$ override People
  • Turnover

What does it look like when we tip to the Relationship side?

  • Navel gazing
  • $$$ are lost
  • People are not challenged
  • People get bored

There is no right way to tip.  The best solution is to remain in balance.

I’ll be back next week with some suggestions about how to diagnose your current balance and then follow up with suggestions and ideas about how to get yourself back into balance.  I’ll also explore how you might use strengths and the StrengthsFinder assessment to help you achieve that balance in a new and different way.