The most effective leaders bring depth and dimension to their leadership brands by knowing when and how to exhibit varying shades of their strongest attributes – even when those variations might seem like opposite ends of the spectrum.

For instance, five mid-level managers within a company might all exhibit extremely high levels of confidence. But the one chosen to move to the next level is often the manager who can balance that confidence with a sense of humility in the right situations. Sharing credit with her team when she steps to the podium to accept a performance award. Being able to graciously admit making a mistake. Taking time to consider the ideas of other team members even though she already has a solution in mind. The manager with the well-balanced brand knows how to temper that fierce confidence with a generous splash of humility…just enough to be open to the possibility that, despite her own expertise, the best solution might come from a different source. Timing and finesse are critical as leaders strive to master the delicate art of brand balance – knowing when, where and how to offset certain attributes for greater impact. Think of great leaders who demonstrate complementary (or even opposite) attributes in certain situations.

  • Confidant yet humble
  • Highly energetic yet calm in a crisis
  • Competitive yet empathetic
  • Task oriented yet people-sensitive
  • Strategic yet conceptual/creative
  • Visionary yet realistic/practical

These are just a few of many examples. What other seemingly paradoxical attributes have you seen or adopted as a successful leader?