Embracing the Unknown
I have identified three possible leadership types, each appropriate for a different context. I dispute the widely held view that there is one kind of leadership, one set of behaviors, or one set of skills that will work in all situations. Leaders need to be able to identify the several contexts in which they lead and to choose the appropriate type of leadership to fit that context. What makes this important and difficult is that the context often changes moment by moment.
The paradox of leadership today is that leaders are free and constrained at the same time. They are free to choose from a wider range of strategies and opportunities than has arguably ever existed before. But at the same time, they are constrained as leaders to be responsible for the potential of the new and undiscovered. They must please and deliver results to multiple constituencies who sometimes have conflicting objectives. Their uncertainty skills will be fully tested if they are to be responsible for a continually coherent, improving, and relaxing world rather than a continually dysfunctional, unraveling, stressful world.