Leading isn’t like a box of chocolates. It’s not all sweet. Leading is filled with confusing contradictions. Should you close your door so you can do deep work or open it to be available? Do you seem uncaring if you smile or too serious if you don’t?
The 7 most confusing contradictions of leadership:
#1. Maintain openness and stay focused.
An unfocused leader is like following one noodle through a plate of spaghetti. Open leaders are flexible. They change their mind. Should you be flexible like cooked spaghetti or rigid?
#2. Express joy and expect more.
Good leaders are always dissatisfied but constant dissatisfaction is unproductive.
#3. Stay calm and be enthusiastic.
Calmness instills confidence in others; eventually, it’s boring and de-energizing.
#4. Be open to learn and confident about what you know.
Learning leaders acknowledge they don’t know. Being a leader is like having a sick baby. Should you go to the doctor or give them Tylenol and put them to bed?
#5. Exude strength and be gentle enough to give in.
Fight for things you believe AND listen to others…AND change your mind when appropriate.
#6. Make people a priority and say things that hurt people.
‘People first’, right? But sometimes you hurt people’s feelings. It’s less confusing when you hurt to heal, but it’s not easy.
#7. Dedicate yourself to build relationships and deliver results.
It’s not results or relationships. It’s not results and relationships. It’s results through relationships.
What confusing contractions might you add to the list?
How are you navigating the confusing contradictions all leaders face?
The Contradictions of Leadership