Pendulum Leadership


A pendulum is a favourite device for me as a coach. So often I find people beating themselves up around their behaviour, and, more particularly, how when they choose to change a behaviour they often “overcorrect”.

Imagine a pendulum that swings to the far end of its range. Now imagine that is something in yourself you wish to “correct”.

When you let go of a pendulum, does it swing and then suddenly stop in perfect alignment in the centre? No, it gains momentum and swings across to the other side, “over-correcting” if you will. The pendulum will then swing back and forth, gradually finding centre.

The same applies to human behaviour. Whether for an individual, team, business, or even society at large, we can consider the pendulum as a device for considering behaviour.

We are all seeking to “find centre” at all levels, yet it is only very rarely that it happens without the swings of the pendulum occurring.

Now, let’s take that into the role of a leader. Whatever business or organisation you lead, have you seen where you’ve just got everything into alignment, you’ve found the centre…. only to then have something happen through internal or external factors that knock things off centre, swinging the pendulum off to one side or other? Of course!

So, a key role of leaders is to constantly be aware of what alignment looks and feels like, to have that internal compass (to mix my metaphors!). Once you have that awareness, you can then check to see if your organisation is out of alignment, if the pendulum has swung again. When you know what “centre” looks like and where you have swung away from centre, you can then focus on bringing it back.

Leadership of this nature is with us all and is a journey without a final destination. Perhaps we can call it “Pendulum Leadership“?