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Paradox & Polarity

Leadership Paradox & Polarity: A New Way to Look at Business Challenges

Learn to recognize when conflicting ideas aren’t “either/or,” but “both/and.”

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.

Upskill Your Team With Leadership Paradox & Polarity Skills

Manage Leadership Polarity to Avoid Unnecessary Conflict and Produce Results

Leaders can learn a process to better understand and respond to issues that don’t have fixed solutions:

  • Articulate two “poles” that are competing or at odds.
  • Look at the potential positive results (as well as the negatives).
  • Explore the drawbacks or fears related to over-emphasizing one or the other.

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.

You Can Deliver Our Leadership Paradox & Polarity Content, or We Can

You Deliver

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:

Let’s talk about how you can leverage this proven leadership program content in a custom internal development initiative

We Deliver

Or, we can incorporate leadership polarity & paradox as part of a larger leadership development initiative for your organization:

Combine with other topic modules and interactive experiences into a customized learning journey for your leaders

Our highly personalized leadership programs prepare leaders to address common challenges with polarity and paradox 

Let's Discuss the Leadership Paradox at 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.

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Our Research-Backed Perspective on Leadership Paradox & Polarity

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Other Topics Related to Leadership Paradox & Polarity

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:

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