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Paradoxical Leadership

Opinion Piece: Uzair Hassan, CEO, 3h Solutions Group Dubai


Human beings live with paradoxes. They are littered with examples throughout their lives. Similarly, when it comes down to specifics, Leadership is full of paradoxes as well, pulling them in all directions.

A leader tries to balance multiple expectations. From stakeholders to subordinates. The stakes are high.

1.They are attempting to lead their subordinates to take their place. Not stopping them from taking it (Via people development initiatives etc.)

2.They are relinquishing their control not trying to gain it. (Ensuring Empowerment & delegation are optimized)

3.Embracing change while creating change.

4.They should be managing consistently, amongst inconsistencies.

5.Being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

6.Advocating independence while raising the critical nature of interdependence.

7.They are in Act mode, not React mode. (Vision and the ability to forecast the future)

8.They are pushing for digitization while pulling their team towards amplifying the human touch. (Digitization support, humanely applied)

9.They are attempting to achieve a balance between what the organization requires and the needs of their people. (Trying to achieve organizational goals, with their people)

10.There are contradictions & inconsistencies in their efforts. A balancing act indeed.

11.A leader should not order, they should request or ask. (Servant Leadership).

12.They should listen. (Not to respond, not to solve, not to help, not to……. JUST listen. First. To understand)

13.They must drive today, with tomorrow in mind (Future focused but tactical)

14.Have a helicopter view, but, look at the individual values as well.

15.The idea is to be able to not only execute all these imbalances, with a certain balance, but to also keep an open mind as to the benefits, and the beneficiaries of these benefits.

16.There has to be thought given to their own growth, while ensuring their people develop alongside as well.

17.Balancing risks versus potential rewards.

18.Harmonizing change while extolling the virtues of stability and consistency.

19.Staying humble while being a hero / leading from the front.

20.Promoting the extraction of maximum profits from customers while ensuring customers benefit from what is on offer.

21.Fostering teamwork while pushing individual strengths.

22.Stimulating growth while propagating consolidation.

23.Pitching a local footing while reinforcing globalization.

24.Demonstrating clarity of thought & direction while remaining open to new ideas

25.Aiming for success while accepting failure.

26.Driving profits while driving employee wellness / development / happiness.

27.Remaining popular while running a tight ship.

28.Utilizing influence power more than position power.

29.Listening, while attempting to be heard.

30.Delegating while wanting to do it all yourself

Some of these may be borderline paradoxes while being dual yet parallel focus areas. They may be leading towards the same goals but have divergent approaches and require juggling to ensure both aspects are kept in clear focus. Whatever the case may be, paradoxical environments are the nature of the beast for leaders. They have to be tackled, managed, monitored, juggled and balanced. Albeit, without leaning too much towards one or the other.

Therein lies the paradox.

Opinion Piece: Uzair Hassan, CEO, 3H Solutions Group Dubai