I spent the day in workshops creating excitement about new functionalities being added to a product I manage, while at the same time challenging the different groups to think differently about their work, about data, about why they do what they do. I made them uncomfortable. The mixture of emotions was palpable in the room as they swung from excitement to dissonance. For a moment I was in a box they were comfortable with; then I was breaking down the box challenging them to work and think differently.
I was reminded of an old story of leadership which talks of being like an elastic band attached to the thumb and forefinger. The trick of leadership, I was told, is like the thumb stretching far enough forward that it pulls the forefinger with it, but not far enough that the elastic band breaks as then you’ve lost your team.
Today I am unclear if the elastic band is whole or broken; time will tell I guess.