In my opinion, one of the great challenges for leaders has always been how to work with leadership paradoxes. Perhaps the greatest paradox is successfully managing an organisation today while simultaneously adapting that same organisation for the future. And Covid-19 is showing us that it’s only by surviving today that you earn the right to live out tomorrow’s future.

My work with leaders and their organisations is so often in helping them to inhabit both elements of some of the common leadership paradoxes:

  • Build close relationships with your team..and to keep a suitable distance
  • Freely express your own views and opinions…and to be diplomatic
  • To trust one’s team…. and to know the detail
  • To deliver your functional goals… and to do what’s right for the company as a whole
  • Success comes from failure
  • Collaborate and co-create… and to be able to get cut-through
  • And the one that I believe leaders aren’t stepping into… “Slowing Down To Speed Up”

Right now everything is more rapid, extreme, and complex and the natural response is for everyone to work harder, faster and generate even more ideas and actions.

This natural and unconscious speeding up is born out of a desire to control challenges and guarantee outcomes. However, going at breakneck speed consumes so much more energy, can often make things more complex and indeed only part solves problems. Other solutions may become apparent further down the road.

So what how do you slow down to speed up?

Well, behaviour follows mindset and not the other way around. So, adopt a mindset of pacing your work. Know that it’s ok to change down gears, and accept that taking the time to find better solutions may well mean slightly slower decisions, but that you can gain massively in execution.

“Life and business is like driving on a road. Sometimes rough. Sometimes smooth. Slow down when the road is rough. Speed up when the road is smooth. But always keep driving.”