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You’ll find the 20% of leadership information that produces 80% of leadership results in this newsletter. This is well-researched leadership information that, when consistently implemented, will produce bottom-line results.

Leadership: Stuck in the Middle With You?

In “Nudging Change,” last month’s newsletter, the bell curve distribution of human behavior was a central point. Here it is again. Take a large enough sample of people and their behavior will fall along a bell curve distribution with the majority of people in the middle and the fewest number of people at the far extremes.

Now here’s the interesting part—we see the world as we are not as the world is. Huh? Not buying that? Here’s a quick quiz.

1. What’s a frog?

Go ahead and answer. Nobody’s looking.

If you’re part of the middle, you probably pictured a little, green or tan amphibian. If you’re in the fashion industry, you probably pictured an Asian style fastener. If you’re in railroading, you probably pictured a device that links one car to another. If you’re hungry, you might have seen dinner. You saw “frog” as you are. And that is a simple illustration. It can get complicated.

Now the tie back to leadership. Humans fall on that bell curve of right brain dominant to left brain dominant. So do leaders. So do leadership theories. Therefore, we have tipped the scales back and forth in leadership theory between left brain dominant and right brain dominant theories. The far left brain dominance leaves us with analysis paralysis and the far right brain side would have us singing “Kum by ya.” Neither is particularly useful.

Some leadership theories do a reasonable job of including pieces from each side of the center line of the bell curve, but we have yet to see a comprehensive, whole brain leadership model emerge. A whole brain leadership model would be a “both/and” model.

  • Analytics AND Intuition
  • Relationships AND Numbers
  • Structure AND Chaos
  • Command AND Inclusion
  • Hard AND Soft
We tend to lead as we are. By all means, use your strengths AND also ask yourself if the situation would be better served from the other side of the brain. A strong whole brain leadership theory will not be about some wishy washy middle; it will be about combining the strengths of right and left brain dominance.

MIT Sloan Management Review recently reported that top performing companies are three times more likely to be leading users of analytics. Those analytics inform decision making best when managers engage themselves and others to draw insights from the analytics and then put the insights into action.

Analytics AND Insights AND Action

Clearly excellence is in the “AND.”

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Expanded information, case studies, business applications and missed opportunities from the real world that you can use to further leadership development in your organization, is in our quarterly journal Leaders’ Work. For a sample issue, click here