The business world is full of contradictions. Today’s most effective companies must be both global and local. Product development must be fast and also low-defect. Companies must attain critical mass but still interact with customers in a personal, human way.

Nonprofits face their own paradoxes. They must be efficient and develop repeatable processes, but still be flexible and consider individual human beings with unique capacities and challenges.

All modern organizations must learn to operate within and also to overcome paradoxes. Paradoxes create tension. When you give orders that ignore an underlying tension, employees become insecure and resentful, questioning themselves and your leadership.

Poor leaders tend to be dismissive of difficult or opposing forces. Good leaders convey to employees that they understand the paradoxes, and that by managing the consequences of decisions carefully and striking a wise balance, the organization can succeed.

  • Do you convey your understanding of the paradoxes employees face?
  • Identify some paradoxes currently impacting your organization.