[OSList] embracing paradox as a leadership competency

Birgitt Williams via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Thu Mar 10 06:21:39 PST 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Facilitators, change agents, consultants, coaches, moderators and trainers,
in my experience, struggle with their role and power as leaders. Years ago,
I learned a lot from the late Angeles Arrien about the power of leadership:
the power of position, the power of influence, the power of communication.
In our roles especially as outsiders to an organization and to the lives of
the people involved, we have all three of these powers. I have been active
in my pursuit of understanding leadership since I was fifteen and catapulted
into leadership positions that I may or may not have been ready for, despite
what the adults around me might have believed.

In recent years, one of the leadership competencies that has grown and
expanded in me is the ability to embrace paradox, to simultaneously hold two
seemingly opposing views or emotions, with both being valid for me. For
example, I can recognize in myself to be in extreme gratitude for something
simultaneous to feeling extreme anger.containing both emotions
simultaneously, not sequentially. I have come to understand how important
this is as a leadership competency, and I write about it on this list as I
feel it is a most valuable competency for facilitators of OST. I remember
way back when Harrison teaching about OST assisting the people in a system
working with both chaos and order. I was fascinated by this topic. And yet,
today, I admit that as I learned about chaos and order, I seemed to have an
internal picture of one, then the other, then the other, kind of like a
teeter totter with possibly some kind of balance point at the fulcrum. As I
expanded my capacity to handle paradox, I was able to genuinely grasp chaos
and order both existing simultaneously.


In understanding and working with OST, I think it is important to embrace
paradox and to expand our personal capacity to handle paradox in even very
stress filled situations. For example, a paradox that we end up contending
with is that everything is open space, and Open Space Technology is a tool.
What is the benefit of grasping this paradox, you might ask? If I approach
OST as a tool from the simultaneous perspective of 'everything is open
space', I am going to influence different outcomes than if I approach
working with OST only as a tool. 


I wrote about embracing paradox recently, so you can see I am feeling deep
interest in this topic at the moment
http://www.dalarinternational.com/the-power-of-limits. What are your
thoughts about ourselves as leaders? What are your thoughts about the
importance of expanding personal leadership competency with embracing
paradox? Or maybe, in working with OST you are currently developing other
leadership competencies? I am interested to see if anyone has interest in
showing up to this topic.


With blessings,



Birgitt Williams


President & Senior Consultant of Dalar International Consultancy, Inc. 

 <http://www.dalarinternational.com/> http://www.dalarinternational.com 

Co-founder of the Extraordinary Leadership Network

Co-founder of the Genuine ContactTprogram and author of The Genuine Contact
Way: Nourishing a Culture of Leadership
<http://www.genuinecontactway.com/> http://www.genuinecontactway.com

Co-owner of the Genuine Contact Co-owners Group Ltd.
<http://www.genuinecontact.net/> http://www.genuinecontact.net


Supporting leadership development for leading in a culture requiring agility
and flexibility in a performance environment of constant change.


Leadership development at your own pace? Become a member of the
Extraordinary Leadership Network
http://www.extraordinaryleadershipnetwork.com to participate in an online
leadership development program designed to increase your leadership skills
and capacity. 


PO Box 19373, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA 27619

phone: 1-919-522-7750



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