Be a disruptive leader | Step Two: Leave your ego at the door

From WeAreTheCity’s Future Leader’s Blog

We’ve come to the second step of positive disruptive leadership – leave your ego at the door.

We all have egos, and at times they positively spur us on, they keep us focused and going. But egos can also be detrimental to success. Egos can make us blind to new thoughts and ideas, if we are fearful of “losing face” or appearing as if we don’t have all the answers. Egos can make us hold on to “old truths”, hence being reluctant to listen to and open up to other people or try new things.

This is what we mean, in more detail, by leaving your ego at the door, and how it can be achieved.

Share leadership

Gone are the days where leaders ruled from their office on the top floor. The leadership of the future is much more inclusive and shared. Effective, disruptive leaders recognize that they need others to share leadership with them, for different people to step forward at different times to advise, to guide and/or to lead based on knowledge, skills, experience and other unique and valuable contribution.

“No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it.” – H.E. Luccock

Be authentic and transparent

No one is perfect and that’s exactly how it should be. Dare to be an authentic leader who is transparent about your learning journey and recognize that true progress requires non-perfect results that creates new insights and better results. Leaders who dare put their guard down and share that they at times struggle (and learn – very important) like everyone else will be able to connect more effectively with others. Authentic stories create emotional connections, rather than just intellectual. Find your unique stories that can create insight, hope and inspiration for others. Dare to take off your “your corporate cloak” and let people get to know the authentic person, not just a polished façade.

Be bold in your collaborations

The challenges and opportunities of the future are best dealt with through collaboration, where different players come together to give their unique, relevant input. Dialogue sparks more dialogue, ideas feed ideas and creative cross-pollination of ideas and insight can drive innovative solutions. To be a positive disruptor is to realize that new, innovative, collaborative connections can always be created. Challenge your thinking and consider new collaborative partners for given challenges and opportunities. Why not collaborate with your most vocal and critical stakeholders, or local government or even competitors? Think about it, who could you collaborate with to find those new answers to new challenges?

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Dare to seize opportunities

In the last blog post we talked about the importance of understanding the “system” you’re in. Once you understand that system, it’s easier to spot the opportunities around you that are relevant and can be acted upon. We’re surrounded by opportunities and seizing such an opportunity, without being guaranteed a specific outcome, can sometimes be daunting. And yet, if we don’t, we certainly won’t reap any rewards. Think about how you can be a measured, sensible risk-taker, who doesn’t let the fear of a slightly bruised ego stop you from making the most of relevant and viable opportunities. It’s never a question of going for everything – it’s about having the confidence to give it a go.

“You miss 100 per cent of the shots you never take.” – Ice-hockey legend Wayne Gretzky

Dare to speak up

Maybe you’ve got a great answer or maybe you have a great opportunity for learning. Organisations, and society overall, need people who speak their mind, who are not just keeping quiet when they have ideas, suggestions and different opinions. Speaking up takes drive, interest and passion. Find those in yourself and become a respectful, collaborative voice of progress for the future.

“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” – Thomas Edison

Try, learn and adjust

Build the courage to try things out, instead of just holding on to tried and tested approaches. Dare to try. By trying and testing something new, then evaluating it, learning can happen, which in turn triggers adjustment and forward movement. Think about it, how could you create an environment where this type of fast learning takes place? Who do you need to collaborate with to make it happen? Maybe you are facing a challenge right now where you could bring together all the five ideas listed above?

Please comment or ask questions below. We’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas and experience around this topic.

 In our next blog post we will talk about the third step: “Take teaming and collaboration to the new level”

Thanks for reading!

About the authors

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”Leadership is about effective conversations. This book is a very useful ready reckoner for leaders everywhere seeking the words and methods needed each day at work. Sanjay Gupta, CEO English Helper Inc, India

48488869 – successful woman with arms up celebrating

Author: Mandy and Elisabet

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