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The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.’ – F. Scott Fitzgerald

This website by philosopher and management consultant Ivo Brughmans offers inspiration and tools for everyone who has to deal on a daily basis with apparently contradictory values, goals, views or approaches, with specific attention to the challenges of leaders, managers, professionals, advisors and coaches.

Paradoxical Leadership

You want to make significant steps in innovation, but also enhance your ongoing business. You want to grow by offering customized solutions, but also increase efficiency through standardization. You want your team members to show entrepreneurship, but also comply to the procedures. You want to speed up your change program, but also engage all stakeholders ….

As a leader, manager or professional, you are dealing on a daily basis with opposing approaches and goals. You sometimes feel the necessity to make an ‘unambiguous choice’. But is that really necessary… and does it lead to effective and sustainable solutions?

Paradoxical leadership is about using the power of opposites. Making choices that do justice to both sides of the coin. Being able to deal effectively and inclusively with contradictions, tensions and dilemmas is one of the most important challenges of our time. It is a skill that requires personal mastery and one where you can really make a difference.

Sounds logical and familiar, but how do you do this? This provides insights and inspiration.

Recording Webinar ”From Polarization to Dialogue” now available


In this transatlantic webinar,  hosted by my publisher University of Toronto Press, Prof. Wendy K. Smith and I explore how we can understand and break polarization in society and organizations, using a paradoxical lens. Kenneth S. Stern leads the conversation and questions us from his research on the polarization about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Book Release Paradoxical Leadership

Paradoxical Leadership invites you to recognize and to value the apparent contradictions in yourself, your team and your organization, using them as a driver for adaptability, innovation and sustainable growth.

“Ivo Brughmans has done a great job of integrating thorough research with hard earned wisdom from years of working with clients, learning how to convert natural tensions within polarities into something useful for each and all of us. Starting with our own individual tensions and expanding to our most critical global issues, this book is both next day practical and long term visionary.” 

Barry Johnson, Author of And, Making a Difference by Leveraging Polarity Paradox or Dilemma

‘’Paradoxical Leadership is a valued resource, offering tools to navigate tensions that pervade our organizations, work and lives. Tensions offer creative friction that can empower and free but also paralyze and constrain. Ivo Brughmans demonstrates through extensive research and practice the means to turn our challenges into opportunities.’’

Marianne Lewis, author of Both/And Thinking and Professor and Dean of the Lindner College of Business, University of Cincinnati.


Making Paradoxes Work

We can support you and your organization in developing a strong paradoxical competence on the level of mindset, skills and ways of working:


Keynotes, inspirational sessions and workshops on paradoxical leadership and its applications.



How can you, as a leader, professional or coach, effectively and inclusively deal with ambiguity, tensions and dilemmas?



We advise organizations in complex challenges from a ‘both-and’ perspective.


Paradoxical Inspiration

Learn more about the paradoxical way of thinking and your own paradoxical skills







Ivo Brughmans

Ivo Brughmans is a philosopher, political scientist and management consultant. Connecting opposite poles has been a common thread throughout his own life and work. Ivo is fascinated by paradoxes and the challenge of bringing together opposite approaches and opening new perspectives that combine the power of both sides. He has written several books on how to use paradoxes as a driver for adaptability, innovation and sustainable growth, both at a personal, organizational and societal level,  and is a lecturer on the paradoxical theme at leadership academies and management schools.