[OSList] embracing paradox as a leadership competency

Tony Budak via OSList oslist at lists.openspacetech.org
Sat Mar 12 17:34:07 PST 2016

Here is an extract from"Is leadership only for heroes?",  by Zoe van 
Zwanenberg <http://timebankswork.net/tiki/tiki-download_file.php?fileId=10>

"The work of leadership
In our drive to provide simple answers with clear deliverable outcomes 
for complex problems we have latched on to the notion that strong, 
effective leaders are what will make the difference.

Current belief is that the work of leadership is to define not just what 
needs to be done but how it will be done and by whom in a defined linear 
format. In this model the work of leadership is to be all knowing and to 
take the blame when things do not work out in accordance with the master 

The certainty that this type of leadership provides should then enable 
us to see our way out of the complex mix of dilemmas and relationships 
that face us. This seems to presume a straight line of cause and effect 
and also a simplicity of relationships between problems and solutions 
that our everyday experience of the world would deny.

It is also based on a very simple and value laden model of leadership – 
that of the leader/hero who provides direction, goals, standards and 
behaviors that all can follow.

If the work of leadership is to provide answers, then we are resigning 
ourselves to being a dependent community of followers yet reserving the 
right to sacrifice the leader when the answers do not address the real 
problem or prove unacceptable."

Click here for the short article 

On 3/10/2016 9:21 AM, Birgitt Williams via OSList 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 <http://www.dalarinternational.com/>
> Co-founder of the Extraordinary Leadership Network 
> http://www.extraordinaryleadershipnetwork.com 
> <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 <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 
> <http://www.extraordinaryleadershipnetwork.com/>to participate in an 
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Untitled Document Regards,
*Tony Budak
*Time Bank Mahoning Watershed <http://tbmw.org/> *

/mobile:/ 330-716-2722 | /Skype:/ tony.budak1**

*Facebook TBMW 
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