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Thierry Volery and Susan Mueller

In the specific context of entrepreneurship, leadership has traditionally been defined as the ability to create visionary scenarios that are used to build a cast of competent and committed supporters to accomplish the objectives underlying the scenario. However, the dynamic nature of entrepreneurship generates a wide range of paradoxes that entrepreneurs have to deal with. In this exploratory study, the authors first investigated the paradoxical tensions facing entrepreneurs in growth-oriented ventures while observing their behaviours. They observed four inherent tensions to the job of entrepreneurs, requiring them to maintain a subtle balance between exploration and exploitation, short-term and long-term perspectives, stability and adaption, and dealing with employees and outsiders. Second, they identified ten different roles played by the entrepreneurs in order to deal with the paradoxes and tensions underpinning their work. Third, they identified strategies adopted by the entrepreneurs to preserve entrepreneurial leadership behaviour.