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Six paradoxes of leadership

Addressing the crisis of leadership

Today, leaders are asked to lead in a world that is unlike anything anyone has ever experienced. As is described in PwC’s ADAPT framework, the world is facing significant and increasingly urgent challenges that are affecting individuals, organisations, governments and society alike. 

These trends are coming fast and are impacting decision making today. One thing is clear, the need for a new form of leadership has never been more critical.

There are six paradoxes which are becoming increasingly important for leaders to navigate. These are not the only paradoxes leaders face, but the ones most urgent in today’s context and will remain important in the future. The paradoxes should be considered as a system; they impact each other and all need to be balanced simultaneously. To truly differentiate yourself as a leader, learning how to comfortably inhabit both elements of each paradox will be critical to your success.

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Blair Sheppard, Global Leader, Strategy and Leadership for the PwC network discusses the Six paradoxes of leadership for a changing world

Six paradoxes of leadership defined

How do you navigate a world that is increasingly both global and local?

How do you navigate the politics of getting things to happen and retain your character?

How do you have the confidence to act in an uncertain world and the humility to recognise when you are wrong?

How do you execute effectively while also being highly strategic?

How do you become increasingly tech savvy and remember that organisations are run by people, for people?

How do you use the past to help direct your future success?

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“So if leaders around the world want a better future for our children and grandchildren, they need to find within themselves the capacity to navigate the Six paradoxes or surround themselves with people who can. The stakes are simply too high for them not to.”

Blair Sheppard, Global Leader for Strategy and Leadership, PwC

Hear PwC leaders speaking about the Six paradoxes

In these video series, Blair Sheppard,​ PwC Global Leader for Strategy and Leadership, interviews​ PwC leaders who each exemplifies one of the paradoxes.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #sixparadoxesofleadership

Contact us

Susannah Anfield

Susannah Anfield

Director, Global Strategy and Leadership, PwC United Kingdom

Alexis Jenkins

Alexis Jenkins

Director, Global Strategy and Leadership, PwC United Kingdom

Daria Zarubina

Daria Zarubina

Director, Global Strategy and Leadership, PwC Russia