Leadership Paradoxes


June 27, 2017

Reforma's article, "Paradojas de Liderazgo," featured Leadership Span, the scientific approach from our firm and Hogan Assessments that helps organizations predict long-term executive performance. A translated excerpt is below.

As organizations become more complex, leaders have to learn to handle contradictory, sometimes even conflicting, ideas and coexist with them to generate the changes an organization needs. This involves accepting opposites as possible realities, handling these paradoxes is an important part of understanding reality and of rational and emotional intelligence. 

For Dean Stamoulis, and Scott Gregory, Senior Directors at Russell Reynolds Associates and Hogan Assessment Systems, companies specializing in organizational psychology, the study of leadership has led them to identify what they call "essential tensions" at the C-suite and managerial levels. From a social perspective, a poor leader creates authoritarian and dysfunctional cultures, a very passive leader might harm the organization and leaders who are too strong can bend the organization and lose talent in this process. The reality is that effective leaders tend to demonstrate a complex mix of skills and traits including contradictory aspects.

Dean Stamoulis and Scott Gregory propose a model based on four fundamental paradoxes that leaders, executives and managers have to master. On the one hand, they are expected to be disruptive innovators who set aside previous ideas, but at the same time, leaders have to be pragmatic, focus on priorities and continuity. Another paradox is in risk-taking, they are expected to take risks, but they must be cautious and suspicious about them. They must also be heroic to take action with total conviction and surrender, but they must be vulnerable enough not to self-deceive and to accept and receive feedback for correcting course. Finally, they should be able to lead with energy and inspiration to be accepted by their followers, but also must be able to connect to the company and take a step back so the team receives the credit for achieving results.

To read the entire article in its original Spanish, click here.

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Leadership Paradoxes