PMP281: Paradoxes of Leadership with Dr. Tim Elmore

Dr. Tim Elmore is the founder and CEO of Growing Leaders. His work grew out of 20 years of serving alongside Dr. John C. Maxwell. Elmore has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, USA Today, Psychology Today and he’s been featured on CNN’s Headline News and Fox and Friends. Tim has written over 35 books, including Habitudes: Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes.

Today we are discussing his recent book, The 8 Paradoxes of Great Leadership: Embracing the Conflicting Demands of Today’s Workplace.

Tim Elmore, returns to the Principal Matters podcast after being a guest on PMP134, in November 2018. In this week’s episode, he answers the following questions about his new book:

1. What drove you to write this book? 

2. You started your career in leadership over 40 years ago. What is it about today that makes these “paradoxes” relevant?

3. We live in an “either / or”world. Parents, educators and administrators feel they’re caught in the middle of a culture war on masks, vaccines and politics. How does this book address this?

4. Can you highlight a few of the paradoxes that would be relevant for a school administrator?

5. How can educational leaders use the principles in this book to mentor and train their next level leadership?

6. How can Growing Leaders and you partner with school leaders to teach these principles?

Listen-in as Dr. Elmore explains why leadership sometimes grows harder, not easier, as we understand its paradoxes. Why? Because leaders are encountering higher levels of exposure, higher levels of emotion, and higher levels of entitlement. 

Dr. Elmore explains how uncommon leaders are both confident and humble. He talks about how great leaders “leverage their vision as well as their blind spots.” Every chapter in his book includes a case study as well as a personal study. For instance, Tim discusses why leaders must “read them before we lead them,” and “how leaders must be both visible and invisible,” using Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an example of this kind of leadership. As well, he explains why leaders must “speak as though you are right but listen as if you may be wrong.” 

Take time to listen-in to the entire conversation for great takeaways and inspiration for understanding the complexities and important paradoxes influencing your ability to influence others. Check out his new book at:

Now It’s Your Turn

Do you find yourself pushing against the paradoxes of leadership instead of embracing them? How might understanding the competing narratives involved in leadership help you move forward instead of becoming stuck in frustration? Find all of Tim Elmore’s resources at

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William D. Parker
William D. Parker