The Yin And Yang Of Leadership

Feb 05, 2016 1 Min Read


The “yin and yang” expression is an ancient Chinese philosophy used to illustrate how contrary, opposing forces are complementary in nature such as the earth and sky, day and night, or water and fire, to describe how harmony can be maintained in the universe. Similarly, the “yin and yang” concept may be seen in leaders who are able to balance the need to be firm and the need to be flexible.

Many times, leaders may be stern or closed-off to gain respect from their employees. However, without a blend of openness, employees may eventually lose any connection or sense of ownership to the company. For the most part, many of us may have nailed down one or the other aspect depending on our personality type or experience.

However, consider these few tips on how to become a more balanced leader:

Teaching and learning

Humility plays a big role in learning. Being humble allows others to contribute their ideas, voice out their issues, and in turn, helps you grow as a leader. Leaders are still human beings.

We all make mistakes. Being open with ourselves and owning up to our mistakes may make you feel vulnerable but it may also show that you can take responsibility.

“The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly.” – Jim Rohn

Seeing the bigger picture

Sometimes being balanced may require us to make decisions beneficial to the company or team as a whole even if that may require nudging people out of their comfort zones. At times, being a well-balanced leader may require us to see the bigger picture and assess the situation from there.

Manage boundaries, not people

Having policies and procedures may allow leaders to release some control and allow employees to not feel the need to constantly look over their shoulders. Instead of telling people the dos and don’ts, employees are given freedom to innovate but within certain guidelines.

Having balance internally

“What’s going on in the inside shows on the outside.” – Earl Nightingale

As the saying goes, ultimately a balanced leader externally is a balanced person internally. Having stability internally can reflect on one’s choices and actions.

By being a balanced leader, team members who feel connected to you as the leader and who feel valued or appreciated may go above and beyond for their company. A contented team member may result in a long-term, dedicated one. Creating a pleasurable workplace and being able to motivate employees not only demonstrate stability in you but empowers those around you.

To find out more about how this sort of balanced can be achieved at work, email For more Try This articles, click here.

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Tamara was previously an assistant editor and writer with Leaderonomics. She loves thought-provoking conversations over cups of tea. If she is not writing, you might find her hiking up a mountain in search of a new waterfall to explore.

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