It’s Not a Contradiction When You See Both Sides

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Some leaders don’t do well with contractions. You know who I mean. The “my way or the highway” type. Those command-and-control leaders, who think they have to be right all the time and think they’ve failed if they ever have to stand corrected.contradictory buttonscontradictory buttons
To help dispel the one-right-way myth, I’ve listed two columns of proverbs, below, under several leadership topics. As you read them, see if you agree with one or the other.

Teams vs. Individuals
Two heads are better than one.
Many hands make light work.
Two is company, three’s a crowd.
If you want something done right, do it yourself.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
The more, the merrier.

Planning vs. Action
Look before you leap.
Better safe than sorry.
Save for a rainy day.
What will be, will be.
He who hesitates is lost.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Tomorrow will take care of itself.
Life is what you make it.

Training and Learning
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Nothing new under the sun.
With age comes wisdom.
You learn something new every day.

Motivation and Perseverance
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Don’t beat your head against a wall.

If you possess a flexible intelligence, you can see how such contradictions can, must, and do coexist. These seemingly opposed sayings have held sway for millennia. The human race has lived with ambiguity and mystery for much longer.

That’s why leaders who accommodate ambiguity succeed. Leaders do better when they understand themselves, others, and their business as working within a spectrum of relative values rather than within a world of black and white.

If you can manage contradiction, you will be much better equipped to manage employees who disagree with each other. Judicious leadership asks you to understand and evaluate both or many sides of an issue and make smart choices. You can’t do that if you can’t find value in both sides of competing recommendations.

Never to Late to Learn

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Learn more about CoachQuest.


Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.