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Effective leadership requires learning to manage polarities. Here’s what we mean by that.
A decade ago, leaders would agree on a strategy and focus on it relentlessly. For example, they might focus solely on growth without considering cost savings or consolidation.
Then the downside of a growth-only focus would appear — bloated infrastructure, cost overruns, inefficiencies — and the pendulum would shift the other way. Cut, trim, be efficient.
Today, if you ask the question, Should I focus on growth or efficiency? the answer is likely to be: Yes. Focus on both. And do both well.
The bad news is that there are no solutions to these problems. The good news is that these aren’t problems. These are polarities.
So, what’s the difference between a problem and a polarity?
A problem can have a right — or best — answer. A solution exists.
A polarity — also described as a paradox, conundrum, or contradiction — is a dilemma that is ongoing, unsolvable, and contains seemingly opposing ideas.
To work with polarities, you need to be able to see both perspectives clearly and at the same time, and to learn how to work through their respective ebbs and flows. Issues are rarely either/or, and you don’t have to pick “sides.”
This both/and thinking isn’t easy, but it stems from the reality that not everything is just another problem to solve.
Leaders can learn a process to better understand and respond to issues that don’t have fixed solutions:
Start managing polarity at your organization by equipping your team with leadership paradox & polarity skills. We can deliver our world-class, research-backed leadership polarity content to them — or you can.
We can equip your facilitators to deliver a workshop or internal training to develop leadership polarity & paradox skills either online or in person, whichever you prefer:
Or, we can incorporate leadership polarity & paradox as part of a larger leadership development initiative for your organization:
Our experts are here to help. Let’s have a conversation about the leadership polarities and paradoxes that affect your organization and how our leadership paradox content could help support your development initiatives.
Package our research-backed leadership polarity & paradox content with other proven leadership development topics and solutions for a customized, scalable solution perfect for your organization’s unique needs, context, and culture. Related topics include: