Leadership insight: A guide to disruptive leadership

Posted by Cranfield School of Management on 23-Nov-2015 10:02:17

It’s easy for leaders to get complacent when things are going well in their personal working lives, and their teams are meeting operational delivery goals. If key performance indicators are being met, after all, shaking things up runs the risk of destabilising a well-oiled machine. 

But being trapped within a comfort zone is average leadership at best. What’s more, those who don’t push boundaries are more likely to be overtaken in the long-term by disruptive leaders, who focus on innovation, positive change and growth. 

To develop a sustainable style of leadership, executives need to nurture a disruptive mindset, and welcome high-potential yet reckless decisions. The following tips, taken from this article, can help leaders make the switch to a divergent style.

  • Question things. Broadening your outlook will turn you into a business explorer, with the perspective to spot and seize opportunities. Asking why things are done can remove roadblocks, help you understand situations better, and open doors to innovation.

  • Don’t be afraid. Stand in the spotlight, make your voice heard and promote your unique specialisms. Have the self-confidence to back yourself, to think beyond the present, and understand more. 

  • Be leading edge. Thinking with agility about the bigger picture can be more challenging than concentrating on you and your team alone, but it’s more rewarding, nurtures diverse relationships and adds business value.

  • Develop your knowledge. Appreciating and exchanging ideas with others can unlock possibilities for your business. The process of sharing knowledge can also widen your influence, and disrupt traditional thinking.

  • Diversify your connections. Surrounding yourself diverse people will broaden your exposure to a medley of outlooks and experiences, with the potential to highlight innovative solutions to business problems.

In a business landscape that’s always evolving, it’s not realistic to expect a traditional approach to leadership is good enough — executives need to stay up to date with emerging ideas and practises, to stay relevant.

How we can help

The Centre for General Management Development (CGMD), within our management school, offers general management programmes that help managers at key career stages develop into leaders who influence the strategic course of their organisations.

The CGMD leadership development programmes are:

Click here for more information or download a programme brochure.

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