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3 Quick Tips on Balancing Leadership Paradox

3 Quick Tips on Balancing the Paradox of Being “All Things” in Leadership – consider the challenge when you encounter paradox and have to acknowledge and operate on two seemingly opposite principles from the list below –   

This       and        This

  • Visionary             Practical
  • Chaos                   Order
  • Results                Relationships
  • Competitive        Supportive
  • Detached            Sensitive
  • Bold                      Cautious
  • Quick                    Patient
  • Strong                  Vulnerable
  • Leader                  Servant
  • Tough                   Compassionate
  • Generalist            Specialist
  • Convincing          Good listener

Be willing to live in the tension—holding two seemingly opposite concepts at once. Our tendency is to want simplicity. We like to reduce things to right or wrong, good or bad, strong or weak. The reality of life says it’s just not that way. We are at once good and bad, strong and weak. In fact, even the best leaders readily admit that they have major insecurities.

How can you learn to live in the tension and embrace paradox? Three tips –

  1. Try a Picture-in-Picture Approach.

My friend, Laurie Beth Jones, has a good analogy called the “picture-in-picture” approach. We must learn to keep more than one channel on the screen and be able switch between them. For example, a leader needs to be able to expand the “vision” onto the full screen in order to develop strategy while at the same time keeping the practical details of reality in the smaller background screen, knowing she’ll need to swap pictures again to deal with the here and now.

  1. Develop flexibility in yourself and others.

Push yourself to identify old mindsets that really aren’t working. When notice that your actions don’t seem to bring good results, consider taking a new perspective. As you get older, flexibility gets harder but it’s worth the effort. Share your growth and mentor others to do the same.

  1. Remember the Stockdale Paradox.

Leaders need resilience in tough times. Our POW leader, CDR James Bond Stockdale, the senior Naval officer in the camps knew a lot about resilience—spending more than four years in solitary confinement, two years in the infamous Alcatraz camp with many rounds of torture. The phrase says, “You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

Also, read the entire article on this topic – “Breaking the Behavioral Paradox in Leadership: 3 Tactics”

 

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