Leadership and balancing the paradoxes

15524016_mIn my role as an Executive Coach, I witness leaders living a fraction of who they are at work and another fraction of who they are at home.

Or simply, living a fraction of themselves in their whole lives – but not all of who they are.

You can have all sorts of abilities and personality traits, but if you don’t know how to use them well, what good are they?

If you classify certain parts for work and others at home, you are limiting your range. If you do not allow yourself to be humorous at work, because you think it doesn’t belong at the workplace, you are limiting your range.

Leadership becomes more powerful and impactful if you know yourself well and if you understand how to use all these different parts of who you are in a skillful way.

Take off a few moments and check off these 7 pairs of traits you recognize within your own leadership. Circle the ones that apply to you:

  • Strong or gentle
  • Serious or humorous
  • Logical or creative
  • Action-oriented or reflective
  • Sensitive or tough
  • Self-confident or self-critical

Now, check in with yourself again:

  • Did you check of the pairs or did you choose one or the other?
  • Did you judge on certain qualities? For example, do you believe that there is no place for sensitivity at the workplace,  it’s more the place to be tough? 
  • Did you pick certain qualities because you believe that’s how a leader should be like?

Simply observe your own answers without making any judgement.

Successful leaders dare to access the broad range within them. They are serious AND humorous.  They are sensitive AND tough. They are both people oriented AND focussed on results. They are not one way or the other, they are BOTH one way AND the other!

These pairs of paradoxical traits are essential to lead in balance as they give you the power of choices about how to respond in various situations. 

Usually, our leadership muscles are not equally developed and we are stronger in one aspect than in the other. Developing our paradoxical abilities takes us out of our comfort zones.  If e.g. we have always been the type of leader with strong opinions and clear views on where to go, it is likely to be a challenge for us to become more appreciative and a good listener.  And a must if we want to expand our leadership skills range and become more impactful and influential.

  • Can you think of a role model within your company who demonstrates balancing these paradoxical traits?
  • What is/was the impact on you?
  • Where do you see your potential for expanding your leadership skills?

It becomes a journey of rich expansion when we tap into leading with the full range of who we are and understand to balance our paradoxical traits.

I hope you had an inspirational read and would love to hear about your views and experiences!


P.S.  Register now and start with a journey of self-discovery and explore your growth potential during our next open seminars:

Is your learning style more productive on a journey of individual executive coaching, then drop me a line at nicole.heimann@5cconcept.com or give me a call at +41 43 888 55 01. I look forward to hearing from you!

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