Paradoxical Leadership: How to Make Complexity an Advantage
Published: April 2023© 2023
Imprint: Rotman-UTP Publishing
Page Count: 328 Pages
Illustrations: 13 b&w figures
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
328 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in, 13 b&w figures
Ebook - PDF
ISBN: 9781487536633Add to Wishlist
On a daily basis, leaders, managers, and professionals alike have to deal with tensions caused by differing and even opposite approaches. We often feel the need to make a fundamental choice between either one or the other for the sake of clarity. Using practical methodology and an extensive toolkit, Paradoxical Leadership reveals how to transform divisive dilemmas into creative solutions and paralyzing polarization into a constructive dialogue.
Ivo Brughmans focuses on solutions that include both sides of the coin and reconcile conflicting views. He works out the fundamental principles of a paradoxical perspective and explains how to apply them to yourself as a person and a professional, how to integrate them into your leadership style, how to implement them in your team and organization, and how to conduct an effective dialogue on polarizing issues. Developing this paradoxical perspective, the book sheds a refreshingly new light on a wide range of fundamental organizational and management challenges, such as strategy development, business design, corporate governance, performance management, change, agility, innovation, diversity, culture transformation, leadership, and talent.
Demonstrating how to manage contradictions, tensions, and dilemmas in a productive and inclusive way, Paradoxical Leadership provides the skills, frameworks, and tools necessary to integrate both/and thinking into your working and leadership style.
Part I: In the Lab
1. Polarities and Paradoxes: What Are They and How Do They Work?
1.2 Polarities as the Lifeblood of Adaptive Systems
1.2 How to Engage with Polarities
1.3 How Polarities Work in Organizations and Social Systems
2. The Limitations of Either/Or Thinking
2.1 Various Forms of Either/Or Thinking
2.2 Why Is Either/Or Thinking So Attractive?
2.3 Why Doesn’t the Either/Or Approach Work?
2.4 The Challenge
3. Thinking from a Both/And Perspective
3.1. Why Is a Paradigm Shift Necessary and Inevitable?
3.2 Paradoxical Leadership and Both/And Thinking on the Rise
3.3 The Fundamentals of Both/And Thinking
3.4 Principles of Practice
4. How to Balance between Opposite Poles?
4.1 Coping with Our Own Polarities
4.2 Working with the Polarities of Our Organization
Part II: At Work
5. Setting the Strategic Direction and Steering the Business
5.1 Staying on Course and Strategic Agility
5.2 Specializing and Working Together in One Value Chain
5.3 Giving Direction to an Organization without Putting It in a Straitjacket
5.4 The Obsession to Measure Everything and the Limitations of Kips
6.1 Change and Continuity: The Old and the New
6.2 Adaptability, Versatility, and Identity
6.3 Polarization and Tribal Wars
6.4 Paradoxical Interventions: Doing the Opposite to What We Want to Achieve
7. Where People and the Organization Come Together
7.1 The Power of What Is Hidden in the Shadows
7.2 How Diversity Can Help Us Achieve Better Results
7.3 Creativity and Innovation: A Winding Road
8. Conducting the Paradoxical Dialogue
8.1 The Inner Compass
8.2 How to Shape the Paradoxical Dialogue in Your Team and Organization
8.3 Caught in the Middle: Reconciling Different Worlds
9. Paradoxically Competent
9.1 The Paradoxically Competent Professional and Manager
9.2 The Paradoxical Skill Set
Where Do We Go from Here? Back to the Basics
Appendix: List of Common Polarities
"Paradoxical Leadership is a valued resource, offering tools to navigate tensions that pervade our organizations, work, and lives. Tensions offer creative friction that can empower and free but also paralyze and constrain. Ivo Brughmans demonstrates through extensive research and practice the means to turn our challenges into opportunities."Marianne Lewis, Author of Both/And Thinking and Professor and Dean of the Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati
"A brilliant book! Our world needs more paradoxical leadership to solve our greatest problems, and Paradoxical Leadership is the perfect traveling companion and guide. Ivo Brughmans shows both the novice and experienced paradoxical thinker the tools to map the terrain of both/and thinking. We all need to engage with the ideas and with Brughmans' book to help us be more creative and generative thinkers by engaging the complexity in our lives and our world ."Wendy K. Smith, Author of Both/And Thinking and Dana J. Johnson Professor of Management, University of Delaware.
"Ivo Brughmans has done a great job of integrating thorough research with hard-earned wisdom from years of working with clients, learning how to convert natural tensions within polarities into something useful for each and all of us. Starting with our own individual tensions and expanding to our most critical global issues, this book is both immediately practical and long-term visionary."Barry Johnson, Author of And: Making a Difference by Leveraging Polarity Paradox or Dilemma
"In his book Paradoxical Leadership, Ivo Brughmans has made it very clear that approaching dilemmas and paradoxes is one of the most important skills that a leader needs to master. It is one of the best books I’ve read on this timely subject. In short: A must-read."Fons Trompenaars, Author of the bestselling Riding the Waves of Culture, and Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam
"Ivo Brughmans’s book discusses how leadership that embraces a paradoxical perspective is needed for our modern civic and organizational lives to transcend a sense of paralysis and to assume better kinds of responsibility. May future leaders think, act, and morally grow towards working within this possibility!"Kleio Akrivou, Professor of Business Ethics and Sustainability and Director of the Centre for Business Ethics and Sustainability, Henley Business School, University of Reading
"In this deeply divided and fragmented time, recognizing paradoxes and embracing ambiguity is of existential importance. This requires a holistic perspective and the ability to connect polarities, to transform ‘either/or’ into ‘both/and.’ This book fulfils both, making it a very valuable and useful tool for the future."Christine Boland, Trend analyst, brand purpose specialist, and keynote speaker
‘’In my practice I see that the ability to effectively deal with tensions and paradoxes has become a key differentiator for excellence in leadership. With this book Ivo Brughmans provides a unique guide to how to bring this into daily practice. Paradoxical Leadership invites you to reflect on yourself and your own fundamental assumptions, while providing a wealth of practical methods, tools, and skills to support you on your leadership journey.’’Karsten De Clerck, Senior Partner at Egon Zehnder and Chairman of the Board at Vrije Universiteit Brussel
"Paradoxical Leadership offers an inspirational and thought-provoking reading for leaders, and leadership/MBA students. This book contains both fresh perspectives and practical guidance on handling the paradoxical nature of our complex world, be it in a profit or non-profit context, or a leader or professional role. Ivo Brughmans’s book adds great value for everyone who wants to learn how to come to grips with conflicting goals and opposing views."Dr. Uwe Napiersky, Associate Professor for Business Psychology, Aston Business School, University, Birmingham