[OSList] embracing paradox as a leadership competency

Skye Hirst via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Thu Mar 10 06:30:08 PST 2016

Yes indeed I'm interested very much in this topic, Birgitt.   It seems that
being able to hold paradoxical values at the same time is one of the
amazing feats of being a human living being.  As you point out here,  there
does seem to be an oscillation between such opposing perspectives.   Norm
Hirst,  a writer about living organisms,  suggested that such paradoxes are
resolved through oscillation.  A topic I very much would like to explore in
regards to it's value in leadership. Sign me up, however and whenever you
wish to continue on this thread.

On Thu, Mar 10, 2016 at 9:21 AM, Birgitt Williams via OSList <
oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> wrote:

> 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
> Birgitt Williams
> President & Senior Consultant of Dalar International Consultancy, Inc.
> http://www.dalarinternational.com
> Co-founder of the Extraordinary Leadership Network
> http://www.extraordinaryleadershipnetwork.com
> Co-founder of the Genuine Contact™program and author of The Genuine
> Contact Way: Nourishing a Culture of Leadership
> http://www.genuinecontactway.com
> Co-owner of the Genuine Contact Co-owners Group Ltd.
> 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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*Skye Hirst, PhD*
President - The Autognomics Institute
*Conversations in Radical Self-Knowing*

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