Balancing Act: Navigating Conscious Leadership and (Re)Generativity in Organizations

Apr 10, 2024
Imbalance in the workplace

Reading and thinking about conscious leadership and organizing for (re)generativity has me reflecting on the importance of balance in our lives and in organizations and communities. As I reflect on my own life, I realize the more efficient I am, the more I add onto my plate instead of using the time to renew and replenish. As I look outside myself, I see the same thing is true for many others and it is the norm in most organizations. Instead of technological advances helping us live more balanced lives, they have driven us to do more, accumulate more, and fill the opportunities for renewal with striving, often leading to burnout.

Imbalance is maximizing stress on all our systems.

What’s Out of Balance?

Consider these polarities outlined by Giles Hutchins and Laura Storm in their book, Regenerative Leadership:

Outward Focus: Cognitive Thinking
  • Policy
  • Technology
  • Finance
Inward Focus: Heart/Intuitive Thinking
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Compassion and consciousness
  • Creativity, play, art, senses
 Masculine Energetic/Traits
  • Focus on own needs
  • Competitive
  • Assertive
  • Protective
  • Goal-oriented
  • Rational thinking
  • Independence
  • Mono-task
  • Bias for action
Feminine Energetic/Traits
  • Compassion toward others
  • Collaborative
  • Receptive
  • Nurturing
  • Relationship-oriented
  • Intuitive feeling
  • Interdependence
  • Multi-task
  • Bias for flow
Left-Brain Thinking
  • You vs. me
  • Linear
  • Causal
  • Focus on the parts
  • Structure and order
  • Dualism (e.g., right/wrong)
Right-Brain Thinking
  • We are all one; wholeness
  • Systemic
  • Relational
  • Seeks to understand the whole
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Polarity: sees through the tensions

An over emphasis on outward focus, left-brain thinking, and masculine energetics comes at the expense of the health and wellbeing of not just human beings, but the whole of the natural world. Regenerativity is an invitation to pause, breathe, and get curious about how we might create greater balance in our lives so we can continuously renew and replenish ourselves and the systems within which we operate. How might we integrate the other half of our human potential: inward focus, right-brain thinking, and feminine energetics? How do we slow down, broaden our view of what matters, and consider what truly adds value for the whole and renews life so that we are sustainable into the future?

What’s out of balance in your life and in your organization?

If you’re not sure about your balance, pay attention to your conversations and who you are engaging in those conversations. What do you focus on? What questions do you ask? What criteria do you use to make decisions?

Moving Toward Balance

The point is not to choose one way of being over another; that is dualistic thinking. The idea is to bring a balance of both poles into our lives and our organizing. Balancing both ways of thinking, decision-making, and action requires us to optimize our current strengths in relevant contexts, make room for the strengths of others, and develop greater balance for ourselves.

Leadership development that brings balance includes strengthening everyone’s potential for wholeness and being more inclusive in organizational conversations. Hutchins and Storm suggest the result is Tier 2 Leadership:

Tier 1 Leadership
  • Mechanistic
  • Hierarchical
  • Linear
  • Cause and effect
  • Ego-left brain thinking
  • Masculine/outer focus
 Tier 2 Leadership
  • Interconnected
  • Systems thinking: whole brain integration, relational awareness, open mind
  • Systemic awareness: inner-outer, masculine-feminine, embodied participatory awareness, open heart
  • Ecosystem awareness: human/nature, living systems field, open will

What will you do to bring greater balance into your life and organization?

What steps will you take to develop your Tier 2 leadership abilities?

To read more about how Tier 2 thinking changes the way you respond to disruptions in your organization, read Kelly Stewart's blog, Creating Resilience Amid Supply Chain Disruptions.

To broaden your sense of self as a woman leader and develop your ability to actively and consciously generate positive change and transformation for yourself, others, and the systems within which you work, join us for our Conscious Leadership training program. 


Written by Cheri B. Torres, PhD. As I learn more about conscious leadership and (re)generativity, the light shines brightly on my own imbalances. It is challenging me to broaden my ways of thinking, being, and doing. It’s inviting me to think differently about all the disruptions we are facing in the world-- supply chain interruptions, environmental crises, political turmoil, violence and war. What if these are the natural result of severe imbalance? What if the answer is simply to bring balance into our lives and our organizing; to become Tier 2 leaders?

image: pexels-ds-stories-6990404.jpg

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