Leadership: Why You Must Become an Ambidextrous Leader

When you participate in a leadership training, some trainers use personality tests to help you gain more awareness as to your leadership “style”. The idea is the more you learn about yourself, the better you can maximize your strengths and mitigate your weaknesses.

Increasing your self-awareness can help you in every area of your life, including in your role as a leader. See, from birth, you’re wired a certain way, which makes some activities come naturally to you and others a real struggle.

See, from birth, you’re wired a certain way, which makes some activities come naturally to you and others a real struggle.

By becoming aware of the “raw material” (i.e. your strengths and weaknesses) you have to work with, you can better leverage your natural abilities and ensure that your deficiencies don’t cause your downfall.

There are no perfect leaders. Everyone has an innate “toolbox” they have to work with. You must learn what tools are in your toolbox and work with them.

The Two Sides of Leadership

At the most basic level, there are two sides to leadership. And usually, leaders are naturally attracted to one side more than the other. That is, they are stronger on one side and weaker on the other. Like in real life, although both hands are needed, one of their hands is dominant.

The two sides of leadership are “tasks” and “people”. The “tasks” side is about the work. The “people” side is about the team. And leadership combines both: leadership is about getting the work done with your team. As mentioned, usually, leaders have a bias towards “tasks” or toward “people”. In rare occasions, a leader is naturally equally strong on both sides.

Tasks: Getting the Job Done

A leader that is strong on the “tasks” side knows how to get the job done. They work hard and, like taskmasters, push their team to work hard—and nonstop. Under their leadership, productivity skyrockets.

However, often, these leaders have a hard time understanding the “human” side of their leadership role. They have little empathy for the struggle of their people. Their motto is, “Get the job done”. Never mind that your personal life is falling apart and that you’re not happy in the workplace. For them, you should stop whining and get to work.

People: Taking Care of the Team

A leader that is strong on the “People” side knows how to care for the people. Team members love these leaders; they feel understood and supported by their leader. Under their leadership, the atmosphere is relaxed and work is delightful.

However, often, these leaders struggle to get the team to reach its target and produce results. Everyone is enjoying themselves, but little work is getting done. For these leaders, all that matters is that the team is happy.

The Ambidextrous Leader

Let’s be clear. The “tasks” side and the “people” side aren’t mutually exclusive. I presented the extremes to help you better understand both sides of leadership. But both sides necessary for effective leadership, just like you need both of your hands to play basketball.

However, you must become aware of the “raw material” you’re are working with (i.e. your natural tendency). Are you naturally a “tasks” person or a “people” person? When you answer this question, you can better maximize your strong side and mitigate your weak side.

For instance, if you’re a “tasks” person, you would be wise to make efforts to become more empathetic to the needs and challenges of your team members. You may never transform into a “let’s go for coffee every day” type of leader. But focusing more on the “people” side will help you become a better leader.

Conversely, if you’re more a people person, you would be wise to learn how to get the work done and motivate your team to do the same.

When you combine both sides of leadership (i.e. the “tasks” side and the “people” side) you become like someone who can use both hands equally well. You become an ambidextrous leader: an exceptional leader.

About The Author

Vladimir Elie

I help people learn and apply success principles and strategies so that they can get the results they want in life.