Innovation Leadership vs. Equilibrium Leadership


John Jackson outlines the differences between innovation and equilibrium styles of leadership.

It has been my privilege to serve as the senior leader in a variety of different organizations. Some of those organizations were desperate for change (“grow or die”). Some were desperate for stability ("stop the change…NOW").  Most were at some point along the continuum.

Since I've been living and studying leadership for over 30 years, it strikes me as clear that there are different needs for what I will call “innovation leadership” vs. “equilibrium leadership." With no claim to being exhaustive in detail, here are a few notable differences:

Innovation Leadership:                                                    

Value: New, Fresh, Alive                                                 

Focus: Present, Future, Progress                                     

Fears: Irrelevance, No Impact, Missed Opportunity        

Equilibrium Leadership:

Value: Tried, Tested, Trusted

Focus: Faithfulness, Health, Stability

Fears: Death, Break in Relationships

You might think from what I have written above that I “favor” one type of leadership over another. You’d be wrong. I actually think both leadership styles are needed for different seasons of life. The important thing is not only to recognize your own leadership wiring/DNA, but also to recognize the season of your organization.

What type of leadership does your organization need during this season?

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