11 paradoxes of leadership (from LEGO)

One of my CEO coaching clients with 30+ years of experience (much as a CEO) recently read The LEGO Story: How a Little Toy Sparked the World’s Imagination and shared the list below of 11 “paradoxes of leadership” mentioned in the book that supposedly hangs on the wall of every LEGO leader.

We both marveled at the list — neither of us had ever seen it before despite consuming voluminous content about leadership in our careers. It really captures what is needed to be a leader in all of its contradictions.

11 Paradoxes of Leadership

1. To be able to establish close relationship with your employees – and to keep proper distance
2. To take the lead – and to recede into the background
3. To show the employee confidence – and to be aware of their doings
4. To be tolerant – and to know how you want things done
5. To be concerned about your own field of responsibility – and at the same time to be loyal to the overall goals of the company
6. To plan your working-day carefully – and to be flexible to your planning
7. To express your opinion – and to be diplomatic
8. To be visionary – and to keep both feet firmly on the ground
9. To aim at consensus – and to be able to cut through
10. To be dynamic – but also thoughtful
11. to be self-confident – and humble