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Remember the song, Mr. In-Between?

leadership-compass-blueUsually, when we remember this song, we think of someone “straddling the fence”, trying to be all things to all people, teetering on the edge of indecision and inaction … or someone who always takes the “middle of the road” and commits to nothing.

Gill Corkendale writes in the HBR blog that leaders tend to be either Mr. Inside or Mr. Outside when they really need to focus on being Mr. In-Between, creating an essential “balance” among their varied responsibilities. It’s true that we all drift toward our comfort zone, doing what we enjoy and are good at, often ignoring the more tedious, even painful tasks that remain critical to our success.

She offers a simple checklist to help you evaluate where you are on this continuum. Her list is not only helpful to assess where you spend your time, but is a valuable reminder of what you should be doing when you’re working either “inside” or “outside” the organization.

In Leaders:

* Focus on results and deliverables
* Coach and support their people
* Build team spirit
* Offer expert knowledge or share experience
* Monitor performance/quality control
* Are present and available
* Surface and deal with conflict

Out Leaders:

* Get involved in cross-organizational initiatives
* Build networks
* Delegate extensively
* Manage their profiles and visibility
* Engage with peers inside and outside their companies
* Look after their careers
* Engage in organizational politics
* Join committees
* Attend or speak at industry conferences

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