Tag Archive: Paradox technology

  1. What does effective communication look like?


    Communication is one of the most important skills a successful leader can develop. Effective communication is the tool to inspire, align a team around common goals, build trust and negotiate delicate situations.  How our communication is received will depend on the perception and viewpoint of the person receiving it and is open to interpretation.  The intention and the interpretation can often be miles apart and it is important to remember that it is the interpretation not the intention that triggers action.  If we want that action to be positive and progressive, we must take the utmost care with our communication.

    Ineffective communication can leave teams feeling out of the loop, lacking in confidence and motivation, or even result in a complete breakdown in trust between leader and employee/team. This in turn has a huge impact on productivity and can result in absenteeism, raised levels of sickness and staff churn.  If you happen to work for a visionary company who recognize the importance of effective communication you will have been on the receiving end as well as seen the benefits of training in such skills. A good place to start is by considering the foundations of effective communication.

    The Paradox of Communication

    Harrison Assessments Paradox Theory suggests the idea that every behavioural trait can be a strength or a derailer depending on the circumstances.  Unfortunately, behavioural traits are often unconscious behaviours or habits and we can often fail to notice the consequences of ineffective behaviour.  Balancing seemingly opposite (paradoxical) traits can give us the maximum flexibility and, therefore, effectiveness within each paradox.

    The two paradoxical traits of the Communication paradox are FRANK and DIPLOMATIC and this is just one of 12 sets of paradoxical traits that give us an overview of our approach to work.

    • FRANK: the tendency to be straightforward, direct, to the point and forthright
    • DIPLOMATIC: the tendency to state things in a tactful manner

    Communication imbalances can cause limitations in communication style

    Flexibility is the name of the game and a high score in both diplomacy and frankness will give us such flexibility. So let’s take a look at the imbalances and the consequences of each.


    What this can look like: The manager who disappears down the corridor at the first hint of a confrontation or spends the day hiding behind a closed office door. Often prefers to communicate by email rather than in person or even on the phone.

    A leader who avoids communication may be unable to communicate with a team effectively on a day to day basis, manage conflicts or to provide clear strategic direction, often leaving the team feeling ‘rudderless’. The team may feel this manager is too busy, or doesn’t care about their input.


    What this can look like: The manager who never gets to the point because they’re worried about hurting someone’s feelings or allows bad behaviour from team members to go unchecked for risk of upsetting them. Avoids being the bearer of bad news and passes the buck onto others: “Head Office said we need to work extra hours to make this deadline”.

    A leader who is evasive tends to be tactful without being sufficiently direct. This can leave the team feeling they are not being given the whole story, or even not being told the truth which isn’t necessarily the case.  There may be gaps in the communication which could be filled with inappropriate actions.


    What this can look like: The manager who steps on others without even realising it. Often prides themself on being ‘honest’, thinks there is nothing wrong with their own style, and does not know when they hurt others’ feelings. Has a tendency to say the wrong thing at wrong time.

    A leader who is blunt may tend to be frank or direct and often use the phrase ‘telling it as it is’ without sufficient tact, often making themself appear rude. Those around may hold back from sharing ideas for fear of being shot down.

    Any and all of the above can lead to problems with performance, disengagement and a poor culture.

    Of course, there will be instances where these extremes are useful – frankness is probably preferable if the building is on fire.  Equally two people with the same frank trait will demonstrate excellent rapport – I have seen whole organizational cultures built on one style of communication as people who feel uncomfortable leave the organization. The question here is ‘what is the organization missing in terms of creativity and ideas?’

    Likewise there will be situations where extreme diplomacy and tact are required –negotiation of any sort or delivering unpleasant news for example.

    Balance brings versatility

    Effective communication encourages innovation, helps with the early identification of problems, creates individual and team engagement with business goals and objectives and creates a culture of openness and trust in the team and the wider organisation. Operating within the fourth pattern encourages and allows for greater versatility for the needs of the situation.


    What this can look like: The manager who maintains a good balance of being to the point while being sensitive to the way in which they communicate with their audience.

    A leader who displays forthright diplomacy tends to be both forthright and diplomatic at the same time, communicating clearly and respectfully with the team to create an open and engaged team culture.

    As previously stated, flexibility is the name of the game – being able to switch styles according to the person on the receiving end and the requirements of the situation.  The first step in developing such versatility is awareness – The Harrison Assessment Paradox report will give you this and the opportunity to practice exercises to develop potentially deficient traits.


    5 tips to help improve communication

    • Keep communicating! Information, thoughts, feedback, ideas should be communicated frequently – ‘nature abhors a vacuum’… don’t leave a gap which can be filled with inaccurate information from other sources. Keep communication open and transparent, remove any barriers and take the time to talk and listen to people.
    • Keep it simple and direct – Make sure communications are clear without hiding behind extraneous information. Take into account how your message will be received by others. Use that diplomacy… Direct does not mean blunt!
    • Listen and encourage contributions – Encourage ideas and solutions from others. Do 80% of the listening and 20% of the talking. Showing interest and respecting colleagues will help make the emotional connection that’s so important for effective leadership.
    • Show empathy and create trust – Walk in the other person’s shoes, see things from other perspectives to avoid being judgmental and biased. Employees want to feel heard and valued.
    • Walk the talk – Integrity is key and judgement is invariably based upon behaviour. Credibility and engagement will emanate from consistent communication and behaviour.


    Paradoxical Leadership Technology

    You can find out more about balancing Paradoxical traits, like FRANK and DIPLOMATIChere,  or you can get in touch at [email protected] or on 07768 922244





    The paradox of COMMUNICATION – what it can look like when the balance between FRANKNESS and DIPLOMACY is off-kilter, and what it can look like when balance is achieved.

    Leaders need to be able to balance these two seemingly opposite traits – one dynamic and one gentle – to achieve optimal behavioural performance and balanced versatility and effective communication.

    What examples of leadership communication spring to your mind?

    Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.

    Find out more or contact us at [email protected] or on 07768 922244




    Leaders need to be able to balance two seemingly opposite traits – one dynamic and one gentle – to achieve optimal behavioural performance and balanced versatility. Here we look at the paradox of strategically managing risk – what it can look like when the balance is off-kilter, and what it can look like when balance is achieved.

    Harrison Paradox Technology is embraced by organizations world-wide as the best means to determine leadership capability and job performance by providing a reliable map of the paradoxical balances that make or break leaders.

    Find out more or contact us at [email protected] or on 07768 922244

  4. Should you trust your gut in business?


    Michelle Silver

    We’re often taught in business that decisions should be made based on facts, data and evidence. And it’s definitely important to consider all of the above when making an important decision. But relying on evidence alone can leave you with just half of the picture.

    As emotionally intelligent human beings, we have also been gifted with something else which can be just as powerful as cold hard data – intuition, or gut instinct.

    Do you sometimes just know something to be true without even knowing why? Have you ever known something is the right thing, or the wrong thing to do – contrary to what all the evidence is telling you? This is your intuition speaking to you. It’s a very useful tool that we all possess, but not everyone uses.

    What is intuition?

    It’s often said that the gut acts like a second brain. The brain continually takes on board unconscious information and automatically filters it through past experience and knowledge. This happens instantaneously as the unconscious mind is so much more powerful than the conscious mind, and intuition is the resulting feeling you get based on this unconscious processing.

    It has also been widely reported that intuition is a right-brain function alongside creative thought, art, music, senses and emotion, whereas analysis takes place in the left hand side of the brain, as does reading, analyzing information, understanding languages, etc.

    So how can listening to your gut instinct help you as a leader?

    1. Intuition can help us to keep an open mind, and be open to opportunities and new ideas that our rational minds may close us off from.
    2. Likewise, our gut can act as a voice of caution at times. Trusting in this early warning system to steer clear of a risk which may have been mitigated on paper by facts and figures can be priceless.
    3. It can help us to be a good leader and colleague, allowing us to sense when something may not quite be right with a team mate. We are then able to adjust our approach to find the best way to deal with that person or situation for the best outcome.
    4. Our intuition links into our values; it can help to guide us towards finding the right path and purpose so that we can feel fulfilled in what we are doing.


    In this podcast Pat Hutchinson, Quadrant 1 MD, talks to Gerry Murray on his Leading People show about how intuition helped her carve her own career path to lead her to where she is now…

    Learn from the past

    Think back about situations or opportunities where you’ve used your intuition to guide you that worked out really well. Try to remember how you intuitively felt as these situations were developing, and what it was that your gut was telling you.

    Things don’t always work out. It is important to reflect back on situations from the past where you’ve trusted your gut but that haven’t worked out as well as you wish they did. What can you learn?

    As with everything, balance is key.

    Relying solely on intuition and failing to sufficiently analyse a plan or problem can lead to making non-logical decisions. Avoiding analysing situations whilst at the same time mistrusting your intuition can leave you paralysed and unable to make a decision at all.

    For all aspects to be in balance, intuition should be combined with good analytical skills to help you sense the important factors, while at the same time analysing the risks to arrive at a logical and well-considered solution. Next time you are faced with a decision and you’ve spent some time considering the facts, spend a minute checking to see how you feel about the situation, what are your gut feelings telling you?

    Paradoxical Leadership Technology


    Paradox Technology measures how employees manage 12 paradoxical pairs of behaviours, each of which relate to an important core value.

    All of the Harrison Paradoxes relate to leadership and have a great impact on the organization which can either create a positive culture or a dysfunctional culture.


    You can find out more about balancing Paradoxical traits, like intuitive and analysing, here,  or you can get in touch at [email protected] or on 07768 922244