3 Lessons of Growth in Paradoxical Leadership

personal development Mar 22, 2022

How can you, as a leader, take effective action on opportunities where there are apparent contradictions, yet at the same time balance one another?

We all live within frameworks of paradoxes that challenge our thinking. As simple becomes complex, being unaware of the paradoxes in your leadership role may keep you from becoming a great leader.

Paradoxical Leadership Example

One paradox in leadership is that for you to be able to provide great answers, you must ask great questions. If you've been taught as a leader that you should always be ready with answers. You freely give out information to all who come to you.

You and your team may even think you're being a good leader. However, what happens is soon others stop thinking for themselves and they come to you for all the answers. You become frustrated because your team seemingly isn’t problem-solving for themselves and is not growing under your leadership. It turns out, the more you speak to help solve problems, the less you learn, and the less others learn.

To continue to grow, be aware of these three lessons in the paradoxes of leadership:

Lesson One:

You can be wrong by being so very right. Be aware of the Pyrrhic victory where success comes with great loss. There will be times when a paradoxical decision where the potential for success and failure is beyond imagination.

Lesson Two:

Discovering the win comes in being both timely and timeless. Timeless values and timely decisions make a difference on every level of a leadership journey.

Number Three:

Being other-centered is a complementary part of being self-centered. 

For example, can a leader care for others and keep themselves healthy? There seems to be a contradiction between these two concepts of being self-centered and other-centered. In fact, centering on self and centering on others appear irrational and consistent.

Remember, as you grow as a leader and seek to increase your understanding of the value in what appears to be opposing choices in leadership, research indicates that paradoxical leadership is associated with positive behavioral outcomes.

If you choose to learn how to appreciate and respect the paradoxical tensions in your leadership role, you move to a new level of agility. You’ll find a balance that is possible, not easy, but possible.

Schedule a free call to learn more about how I can partner with you in the growth and sustainability of healthy leadership. 


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