Problem to Solve Or Tension to Manage?

A 10-Question Quiz to Measure Your Leadership Skills

As a leader, you face challenges every day. Some of these challenges are problems to solve which require ”either/or“ thinking. However, some of these challenges are tensions to manage which require “both/and” thinking. Great leaders can spot the difference and lead accordingly.

Take this test to find out how well you know the difference. No matter how long we’ve been in leadership, we can always be susceptible to blind spots. Working through this test will exercise your leadership muscles and make you aware of any situations you may want to approach differently.

1: A new manager declares at his first team meeting, “It’s time to get rid of our silo mentality. From now on we are going to work as a fully integrated team.”
2: A senior leader sends out an all-staff email explaining a significant organizational change and ends the email with the following sentence: “This is the way we’re moving forward and from this point on, anyone who isn’t on board with the change will prove that they’re not a team player.”
3: When planning the company-wide team building event, the committee needs to decide if they should have lunch catered or ask everyone to contribute to a potluck meal.
4: A business professor explains to his class that when it comes to your team, "great leaders never let them see you sweat."
5: Your politically active friend is explaining to you that anyone who supports the expansion of pipelines in the country doesn’t care about the environment.
6: Your business partner returns from a marketing conference and says, “It’s time we get on board the social media train and finally launch a corporate Instagram account.”
7: At a senior leadership team meeting a VP explains, “All our millennial employees are requesting that we implement a work-from-home policy, but I'm concerned that it will negatively impact productivity and teamwork.”
8: The executive director of your community hospital announces that they will be amalgamating with the two neighbouring cities to build a new mega-hospital which will replace the current small, outdated ones. He explains that this will provide significant cost savings by reducing unnecessary overhead.
9: You received numerous complaints from team members about a staff member who has been late to work six times in the last month; however, you know that the person is in the middle of finalizing a painful divorce. Should there be a consequence for the lateness, or do you let it slide?
10: Your spouse comes down the stairs trying on their new outfit. You find it quite unflattering. They ask you for your opinion.