Is Leadership the Next Disruption?

January 2017, by Anthony Howard
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Is it time for a new approach to leadership … for leadership disruption? There is a lot of talk about innovation and the next disruption. You are well aware of the industries that have been ‘uberised’ or are threatened with seismic shifts. You almost certainly have your radar out, searching for what could disrupt your world or for ways you can create an advantage by being the disruptor. Disruptive technologies create new markets and destroy old ones. They often require courage and conviction by the first movers.

Before answering the question about disruption I want to pose another question, that I ask most business leaders. What is your model of leadership? How do you get things done through people? How do you show up as a leader? Do you have a specific, intentional approach, and if so can you describe it? Is this same approach followed by others around you? While most people can articulate their strategy and business model, very few people can articulate the leadership model they use to deliver that strategy. So simply adopting a model can be a starting point.

But what could truly disrupt leadership? Another way of asking this question, is what kind of leader do you need to be so that ‘everyone’ wants to come and work with you? What kind of leadership stands accepted practice on its ear and attracts people to your organisation?

The answer is human-centred leadership — treating people like human beings, with dignity and respect, as individuals with hopes and dreams and aspirations, who work to live rather than live to work. In practical terms, this means basing every decision and action on the human stakeholders who you touch, caring first for your colleagues, then for your customers and the wider community.

In addition to an overwhelming orientation towards people, human-centred leaders are self-aware — they know their strengths and limitations, their purpose and vision; they are morally sound, living by values and demonstrate lives of virtue; they are intellectually robust, avoiding bias and prejudice in order to discover truth and reality.
This kind of leadership ensures you become the best person you can be, and support the people around you to become the best they can be. Take the time to treat others in the way you would want to be treated, and never use a person as a means to deliver an outcome for you. When we treat people with dignity and respect, they will deliver outstanding results.


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Anthony Howard is passionate about building a more human world, one leader at time. As a mentor and coach, he helps  leaders navigate complex, demanding environments so that they can perform and lead at their best. He is a CEO, entrepreneur, thought-leader, philosopher, and author who has made a life out of asking good questions.

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