Leadership: Moderation Doesn’t Mean Mediocrity

Leaders, when you think of success does the word moderation quickly come to mind? Or do you see moderation as mediocrity and a quick path to the sidelines?

Actually, they are quite different — almost opposites. Mediocrity is the ordinary, unremarkable, and unexceptional.

Moderation is exceptional judgment and restraint that guides all to success by avoiding the brink of disaster. It is the insights and critically timed shifts that maintain balance as we push ahead.

What does it matter? Beliefs drive actions and believing success comes only from extremes can drive our success right off the edge.



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The Wisdom and Power of Moderation

  1. Great leaders consider diverse views.

    They firmly believe that open-mindedness is not indecisiveness. They ensure that their singular view doesn’t produce extreme tunnel vision or group think. This moderation engages everyone’s commitment and builds ownership to reach organizational success.


  2. Great leaders embrace both optimism and realism.

    This moderation embraces the value of honesty and healthy skepticism while keeping everyone’s can-do attitudes alive and ready for action.


  3. Great leaders know when to tell and when to ask.

    Leadership is not about telling or asking. It’s knowing when to do each. This moderation taps employees’ current talents and share the leaders’ experience for the greatest accomplishment. Leaders who live in the extremes of telling blindside the organization from the untapped team knowledge. Those who waffle in constant asking rob the team of growth and scuttle success. These extremes breed mediocre results.


  4. Great leaders see both the big picture and the need for the steps to get there.

    Many leaders are big picture thinkers yet they lose patience with the details and challenges. Suddenly, they feel trapped — stuck in the weeds that are stifling progress.

    Yet, great leaders moderate their reaction and respond with insight for they see the difference between needless detail and necessary plans to hit the mark. This moderation honors all the implementation teams and boosts morale and engagement.


  5. Moderation does not preclude bold strokes and heroic leaps.

    In fact, with moderation as the culture, bold steps have fewer unknown hurdles and big decisions have a more solid base of support.


  6. Moderation counterbalances risk.

    Gymnasts, dancers, and sailors know that when forces are hurling them one way they must have something pulling in the opposite direction to maintain balance. Great leaders understand this winning principle instead of believing that it stops forward momentum. This moderating force secures equilibrium and accelerates success.




If we think moderation means mediocrity we mistakenly seek excellence only in extremes – and incur unnecessary risk. Moderation doesn’t mean mediocrity and mediocrity doesn’t produce the greatness moderation can create.

Moderation is the force of balance. It’s the keen perception and discernment of when and where to move without careening out of control. Therein lays its greatness.


Leaders, what successes have you had from moderating extremes? What impact has this had on your teams, your career, and the success of your organization?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™

Related Posts:
Leadership, Persistence vs. Resistance to Change
Workplace Disharmony vs. Diversity – The Balance

©2012 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.


Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

4 Responses to “Leadership: Moderation Doesn’t Mean Mediocrity”

  1. Very nice, Kate. I believe moderation is a form of control — self-control mostly, but that’s not all it is, of course. It connotes a willingness to stand in tension, to “create a clearing,” and as you say, to operate with discernment, a term that at its root means “to separate.” To me, moderation is all about the moments of discernment that separate self-indulgence, extreme viewpoints, and delusion from the act of truly seeing into a situation.

    When I was in college and the war in Vietnam was raging, a friend, noting the demonstrations on our campus after Kent State, pointed to the need for “people to think for themselves.” It was a day when many were in the street confronting the National Guard, pepper gas was being thrown around, and someone had set off some dynamite in a nearby campus building. My friend explained the polarization that was happening to students, the resulting ramp toward confrontation and violence, and how easy it was for any of us to get pushed and pulled to one vantage point or another — essentially, to take sides. There was a lot of pressure to do just that. It was a gift, then, listening to his words, to instead look and to reflect, as if from a riverbank. That was our discernment. Then, taking a stand was really a personal choice, a product of awareness — one not based on fears of disapproval from friends or family; nor a mindless rebellion against those fears either. Moderation to me is closely linked to consciousness and, in the midst of the extremes, to make an insightful, personal choice.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Dear Dan,
      A truly wonderful story/example of the value of discernment. When I first read your blog posts and connected with you on Twitter, you were and are the model of discernment before action.

      In your comment above, your statement “To me, moderation is all about the moments of discernment that separate self-indulgence, extreme viewpoints, and delusion from the act of truly seeing into a situation” — I very much applaud your sentiment about being able to see the situation before acting upon it. People do it at different speeds or they communicate at different times yet if they are all using some discernment it breeds much success.

      I am so grateful for our connection for I grow from your insights.

      Warmest regards,
      Kate

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