The Value of the Disruptor Leader

Inertia is common in many organisations. As businesses grow, their operations become increasingly complex, with more customers, more employees and more suppliers. Often, processes and systems that supported a company well for many years will no longer scale to accommodate the changes. As a result, a now-complex business may find itself using outdated processes and systems, which can result in myriad workarounds, a heightened degree of inefficiency and inevitably reduced customer/employee satisfaction. Many businesses find that the biggest hurdle to future success is doing things the way they have always done in the past, so people dig their heels in and refuse to change but the sales team continue to win business and the work continues to come in and thus a vicious cycle of discontent and inefficiency takes hold. 

At this stage, companies need a disruptor or a series of disruptors, facilitated by the leader. They need their Disruptor in Chief to question how things are being done, to innovate, to intervene on the day to day and create something entirely new. Every business can usually produce disruptors but the way in which that disruptor leadership is executed is key to the success of the disruption and how effectively the change can be implemented and sustained. 

I have worked with many disruptors in the past and continue to do so at Mindset Leadership. The most successful disruptors have human focused leadership styles and start their disruption process by listening to their team. By listening to their team, they capture the energy and give their team a voice. They create a culture of transparency in which team members are welcome to suggest ideas, new processes and feel valued. Transparency lays the foundation for productivity and increased satisfaction.

Human Focused Leadership is underpinned by a strong Coaching Culture. This is a must to get all employees on board, aligned with the company direction and supported through the disruption. Being a disruptor in today’s evolving world means taking calculated risks. Disruptors need to experiment often, recognising that even small experiments can turn into massively disruptive ideas but if their team are aligned with the direction the job in hand can be made so much easier. 

Secondly, a successful disruptor will position the organisation to be agile. Can the company respond rapidly to change? Are our workflows agile enough to support future growth and increased productivity? Are our team members aligned and sufficiently trained? Successful disruptors enlist external support with the training and development of their team and themselves. They see this investment as a necessary part of their growth and they are right to do so!

Reducing complexity, removing bottlenecks and automating manual processes will result in improved business efficiency. The long-term benefit, however, will come from enlisting employees in the process of change, an investment that lays the foundation for a culture of continual improvement and innovation.

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