The Well-Balanced Leader: Interactive Learning Techniques to Help You Master the 9 Simple Behaviors of Outstanding Leadership

The Well-Balanced Leader: Interactive Learning Techniques to Help You Master the 9 Simple Behaviors of Outstanding Leadership

by Ron Roberts


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Empower your people, your company—and yourself—with leadership egolibrium

egolibrium: the ability to toggle between egocentric and “other-centric” attitudes, values, and behaviors for organizational success

There’s no doubt about it: the very best leaders are deeply in tune with their behavior and understand the impact it has on others. As one of the world’s top trainers in the field of accelerated experiential learning, Ron Roberts understands this more keenly than anyone, and in The Well-Balanced Leader, he helps you re-envision your own behavior to become the best leader you can be.

Roberts makes the process of finding the perfect leadership balance—what he calls egolibrium—personally enriching and easy to achieve. He begins by identifying the nine human behavioral dichotomies that most affect the quality of leadership:

  • Nonjudgmental / Judgmental
  • Nondefensive / Defensive
  • Relinquishing Control / Controlling
  • Openness to learning / Know it all
  • Doing the right thing / Doing whatever you want
  • Patience / Impatience
  • Letting go / Holding on
  • Acceptance / Resistance
  • Other-centric / Egocentric

Everyone’s behaviors fall somewhere between each dichotomy. Using the activities, action steps, games, and thought exercises included for each pair, you’ll figure out exactly where your behaviors land, and then learn how to move that position in one direction or the other to find the right balance or your specific needs.

When you transcend your personal needs and focus on the needs of others and of the organization, everyone benefits—including you. The result is not only greater job satisfaction for people at all levels, but greater productivity— regardless of the organization’s field, product, or service.

The Well-Balanced Leader gives you the tools for making the small, incremental changes in behavior that lead to big changes in awareness—and huge changes in your leadership effectiveness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071772440
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 01/14/2012
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Ron Roberts is one of today’s top consultants and trainers in the area of accelerated experiential learning. He frequently serves as keynote speaker at national conferences and professional meetings. Roberts is president of Action Centered Training Inc., ACT Government Support Services, and ACT Games, LLC, where he has trained executives, managers, supervisors, and line staff in all phases of industry, corporate, and government.

Read an Excerpt

The Well-Balanced Leader



The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2012Ron Roberts
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-177244-0



Who's in Charge Here Anyway, You or Your Ego?

Lisa, a director at a major government agency, got things done and made sure her highly talented staff did too. But few people felt comfortable talking to her—or even approaching her. This became such a problem that her boss suggested that she and her staff take a team building and communications course. The class included trust building games, energizers, and interpersonal communication exercises. After the last session, everyone was basking in the energy created by three days of positive, respectful interactions—laughing, joking, clowning around—until Lisa suddenly snapped:

"Time to get back to work!"

She then proceeded to rip into her staff, collectively and individually, sarcastically detailing recent failures and making demeaning comments. Within 10 minutes, she had wiped out three days of training.

Lisa was stuck:

* In her short-sighted ego-driven management mode which focused on her own needs to the exclusion of others

* In a state of near unconsciousness regarding her own supercritical nature and her extremely demotivating, negative impact on others

* In a constant state of imbalance, with the pendulum swinging toward manipulating others to get what she needed regardless of the outcome, and worst of all, not having any inkling of the extended effects on her team, unit, or the organization as a whole

Lisa's reaction is pretty typical of many ego-driven executives. Sometimes they're told to change; sometimes they themselves know they need to change. But even when their careers or departments are at stake, most find it difficult to change—even when the new, desired behaviors are spelled out to them by bosses in their annual reviews or during team building courses. The Well-Balanced Leader provides a proven methodology for achieving lasting change. It can help leaders change their behavior in a way that sticks.

Most leaders and even their subordinates resist change—because they're afraid of it, because it's difficult, and because their egos find it threatening. Ego-driven leaders are in downward spirals or never-ending loops that keep them and their subordinates stuck in situations that are not working. Organizations often resist change too by keeping outdated structures and processes in place and locking people into their existing roles, making individual change even more difficult.

Leaders' Natural Tendency Toward Imbalance

The Well-Balanced Leader helps leaders to manage and master the 10 most common unconscious tendencies (and traps) that those driven by their egos fall into:

1. Being continuously self-inflating

2. Being absorbed with their own needs and self-importance

3. Trying to gain unlimited power and control

4. Proving their amazing, unquestionable, natural intelligence

5. Demonstrating their total self-reliance (needing no one or anything)

6. Searching for absolute security and certainty

7. Avoiding pain and discomfort and seeking positive results only

8. Attempting to accumulate a maximum amount of material things, objects, and "toys"

9. Desperately seeking perpetual personal affirmation at all levels

10. Unrealistically comparing themselves to others

Ego (and seeking self-fulfillment) is often the true motivating force for many leaders and managers. The main issue again: Most leaders are not aware or conscious that they even have an ego problem because many of the above processes occur subliminally, without their knowledge. When average managers demonstrate the subtle ego-driven characteristics listed above, they are seldom aware of them (and often hire people just like themselves). On the other hand, when leaders practice the art of Egolibrium, they begin to observe themselves and can become highly aware of the ego's insidious subtle power. Great leaders humbly admit their flaws and dig them up as they would dig up weeds about to take root. They take counterbalancing measures to change immediately.

GUIDING PRINCIPLE It is not that which is seen but that which is unseen that causes leadership difficulties.

Analogy: Driving a Car

When driving, some people overidentify with their cars, especially on long trips. Is this you? In your mind, you the driver become the vehicle itself. If people cut you off or drive erratically or ding your vehicle in the parking lot, you feel they have done it to YOU. When drivers overidentify with their cars, horrible scenes—swearing, distasteful digital symbols, even physical blows—often ensue. How did this happen? The boundaries between the drivers and their cars became temporarily blurred.

The same things happen when we identify with our externally conditioned sense of self, which Freud called simply "the ego." The ego is how we mediate with the world. It's influenced by our environment, how we want people to think of us (and how we want to think of ourselves!), our work, our status, our education, income, and all our external achievements. We all have a higher, more authentic self that transcends the ego. This true authentic self is the person we really are at our best, when we are in tune with our universe and independent of others' judgments and external rewards. When we overidentify with our egos and let them direct our perceptions of who we are, we get in as much trouble as drivers who overidentify with their cars.

Getting Unstuck: Egolibrium

Egolibrium helps you get unstuck from the disabling power of the ego in an orderly systematic manner that empowers you by giving you three strengths:

1. Other-Centric perspectives: Paradoxically, remembering who you really are and thinking of others more often than yourself will allow you to be more in touch with your true authentic self. Other-Centric means realizing that you are not the center of the universe. Having a clear perspective about your importance (or lack thereof) in the bigger picture and larger scheme of things within your workplace is the sign of a great leader.

Great leaders are like astronauts circling the earth in a state of weightlessness, exposed to a rare perspective that reminds them how small they really are in the large scheme of the Universe, which in turn gives them incredible levels of objectivity and detachment.

2. Conscious awareness: Great leaders strive to become more conscious of what motivates and drives them and what determines how they relate to others. Such leaders are constantly moving from unconscious (total lack of awareness and controlled by ego) to fully conscious (in touch with the inner authentic self) in their thinking and their impact on others.

Some leaders are as unconscious of their egos as fish are of the water that surrounds them. Great leaders work to remain conscious of the influence of the invisible unseen ego.

3. Balance: Being in balance means thinking about the entire repertoire of responses available in any situation and being free to act on them as needed. It means not going to extremes (without careful consideration) and not acting either compulsively or automatically. Balanced leaders think about the results of their behavior before acting or speaking.

Striving to balance on a minute-by-minute basis helps leaders to toggle between being Ego-Centric and Other-Centric extremes in words, behaviors, and actions.


Excerpted from The Well-Balanced Leader by RON ROBERTS. Copyright © 2012 by Ron Roberts. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents




CHAPTER 1 Who's in Charge Here Anyway, You or Your Ego?....................          

CHAPTER 2 FACE 1. Nonjudgmental versus Judgmental....................          

CHAPTER 3 FACE 2. Nondefensive versus Defensive....................          

CHAPTER 4 FACE 3. Relinquishing Control versus Controlling..................          

CHAPTER 5 FACE 4. Open to Learning versus Know-It-All....................          

CHAPTER 6 FACE 5. Doing the Right Thing versus Doing Whatever You Want......          

CHAPTER 7 FACE 6. Patient versus Impatient....................          

CHAPTER 8 FACE 7. Letting Go versus Holding On....................          

CHAPTER 9 FACE 8. Acceptance versus Resistance....................          

CHAPTER 10 FACE 9. Other-Centric versus Ego-Centric....................          

Guiding Principles....................          


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