Disruptive leadership is a widely discussed topic in the last several years. Companies and leaders move from traditionally established ways to lead to more flexible approaches. Mistakes have been transformed from something negative in people’s experience to a good basis for growth and development. People are now free to make mistakes and learn from these mistakes. The perfect product or service offered has been replaced by the evolving product or service that grows from people’s learning habits and willingness to succeed in their own way of understanding. Leaders role ha transformed from control and management (in some cases micromanagement) to support and encouragement of differences that create unique value. Disruptive leadership has evolved and is here to stay, to give the business world an opportunity to grow through non-structured ways of work and creative ideas coming from all parts of the business. In the center of this disruptive leadership model is the person as an individual – strong, creative, ready to make mistakes and learn from them. The role of the leader here is to support that growth, knowing and accepting that personal growth means another strong step in the company growth. Here I have summarized 8 principles to help you understand what disruptive leadership stands for and how to become a disruptive leader, ready to support your company growth through enabling an individual’s personal path of learning development and growth.
Allow people to trust their own intuition and knowledge
In our work we all run into situations where we don’t have any experience to rely on. No matter that most of us know how to act by intuition. To be an allowing leader you need to allow and encourage your people to trust their own intuition and accumulate the knowledge they need by working together in teams and learning from each other.
Give only the amount of information as it can be handled
Maybe you have been in a situation where you get so much information that you don’t know where and how to start using it. You can easily fight that by giving more clarity. To do that you will need to structure short instructions and recommend resources to help. What you don’t have to do is overwhelming someone with tons of information. Remember that providing too much information may cause people feel incompetent and unworthy of that information.
Don’t take people’s power to act
When you take the decision you make people feel useless and incompetent. There is nothing wrong with supporting the decision making process, but you still need to take into consideration that the strongest and most motivational and engaging decisions are those who came from the people, but not from the authority – in this case you. There may be a time when you have to step up and take some hard decisions for others, but in most cases, people need to be autonomous to make their own choices and mistakes. A disruptive leader empowers people to make their own decisions on behalf of the company. He/she offers support, but never controls others when they take decisions.
Don’t let your ego out
This is an important element. Often leaders get caught in a trap and start believing that others’ success is dependent on their personal intervention, or that others’ failure is affecting too much the leader. That moves the reader’s attention from the team’s success to its own success. But to ensure team success the leader needs to focus on supporting team, creating space where people have the opportunity to learn and grow, instead of focus on own ego and demolish others, expecting that the only winning solutions are the ones that make him or her the winner
Ensure safety to guarantee that people are comfortable failing
When people are learning, growing or even going through another transition they often make mistakes along the way. When the leader, acting as a supervisor, mentor, coach, etc, withholds judgment and shame, he or she offers them the opportunity to find courage to take risks and the resilience to keep continuing, even if they fail. When educating employees and showing to them that failure is only a part of a journey and not the end of the world, they will spend less time beating themselves and will invest more time to learn and grow from the mistakes made.
Ensure guidance and help by using humility and thoughtfulness
A good leader knows when to withhold guidance and when to offer it. Although the leader won’t take it’s people power or autonomy away, he or she can offer some more challenging parts of the work when needed. The leader must be able to recognize the areas in which team members feel most vulnerable and incapable and need to offer the right type of help without shaming them with humility.
Create a container for complex emotions
When the leader deploys people in non-permissive environments most of them feel like held in a deeper way then they are used to. They feel safe enough to allow complex emotions to surface that might normally remain hidden. A s a leader you will need to be aware that this can happen and be prepared to accept the situation in supportive and nonjudgmental way. The leader must play the role of the example of a place where people feel safe enough to fail without fearing that this will leave them permanently broken or that others will shame them on a failed task or project. The leader must be there to offer strength and courage. This can’t be achieved if the leader is overly emotional. He or she needs to look inside his or her internal world and identify how others get support and trust from him or her. In difficult situations the leader must give it’s best to show all team members tenderness, compassion, and confidence.
Allow others to have different decisions and have different experiences
Leading effectively involves respecting each person’s differences and recognizing that those differences may lead other people making choices that the leader wouldn’t make. For example, based on cultural dufferences, people can make different choices that seem unrealistic or non-understandable to the leader from his or her experience. If the leader accepts people’s diversity he or she shows others that differences are honored and welcomed and creates higher level of safety and engagement to learning and growth.
The idea of a disruptive leader, leading others by respecting their own personalities and allowing them to do the things the way they feel them is a crucial step in leadership evelopment. Disruptive leadership evolved from an idea is a good example of making things better, by allowng others to show their full potential in their own way.