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Skills for Leading Through Disruption

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The economic and social shift brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic exemplifies the need for leadership preparedness in a fast-paced environment. In a constantly changing business world, there is a dire requirement of disruptive leadership that is future-ready. 

The finance leader is about high-performing leaders who integrate and build upon the existing concepts of agility, digitisation, and inclusiveness to gain a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the competition.

Leaders such as Anand Mahindra and Sanjiv Bajaj support disruptive leadership to propel their businesses for the better. Advocates of disruption believe that reinvention is necessary to stay relevant to the changing times. Digital disruption is what keeps companies ahead of change while empowering all the stakeholders involved.

Indispensable skills to lead during ambiguous times

The way we work has changed, given the challenges posed by the current times, thereby necessitating disruptive leadership now more than ever. Situations keep changing, and leadership has to keep up with the same. Industries have always been facing incessant disruption – from changing technologies and global industry shifts to market disruptions. Leaders must not only be prepared but be able to anticipate disruption and be equipped to deal with it while preparing their teams to adapt to changes. Often, lack of preparedness and digital backwardness is what takes organisations down.

The times of unprecedented change have witnessed company leaders exhibiting soft skills such as flexibility, empathy, and situational leadership. There is no single leadership mantra that can be followed during unprecedented times. What is imperative is that situations need to be evaluated, and leaders must adapt their style accordingly to ensure the performance readiness of teams and focus on task significance.

Here are the top skills required to lead through disruption:

1-Adaptability

Becoming a disruptive leader requires a multifaceted approach, and adaptability is one of the key qualities. The ability to respond to dynamic external stimuli within a short time is vital to disruptive leadership. We live in a constantly evolving world, and one needs to be able to anticipate these shifts and be prepared to deal with them. While changing work trends were always taken into account by organisations, no one expected it to get accelerated to working from home overnight across the world. The organisations that could adapt to this remote working shift sailed smoothly;

for others who were not technologically robust and slow to react, it would have been a tough situation to be in. Leaders need to be versatile enough to alter their roles to handle immediate business requirements and at the same time ensure organisational stability and seamless adoption of the new ways.

Another thing about leading through disruption is accepting that an idea proposed by you may not be favourable and change it accordingly. Failure is not viewed as the end but is perceived by such leaders as an opportunity to unlearn what did not work and adopt efficient ways to take on the situation.

2-Perspective

If you are looking to lead through disruption, you cannot have a closed view or limited view about handling situations. You need to see problems from multiple perspectives and fine-tune your approach accordingly. Disruptive leadership is about looking at and dealing with a situation through multiple viewpoints and approaches and improvising them with each passing decision. Disruptive leaders regularly test different products, services, and strategies in sync with the direction in which the market is headed; they are not afraid to adopt others’ perspectives or ideas when theirs are failing them.

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3- Values

Leaders that imbibe strong values and remain true to their ethics tend to inspire increased levels of loyalty and employee engagement. When these values and ethics are embedded in the organisational culture, everyone is better equipped to deal with changing times and disruption. During trying times, true leaders do not compromise their principles and carry on leading with character.   

4-Excellent Communication

Being a good orator is another significant aspect of leaders who lead through disruption. Such leaders are decisive, clear, and concise in their communication and are skilled enough to inspire confidence in their teams and keep them motivated with their words. Disruptive leadership is all about articulating the future vision and breaking down the extensive plan into simple steps for the team to understand and fulfil the goal.

Communication is key to getting other disruptive leadership aspects such as adaptability, values, and perspective in action. Candid dialogue and coherent communication are extremely critical to head off small problems before they are blown out of proportion.

5- Resilience

Being able to bounce back from a setback or a difficult situation and emerging even more determined than before is a trait known as resilience, which is necessary to lead via disruption. A part of leadership is empowering your team to roll with the punches and being able to withstand adversity. When things are changing fast, and the future remains uncertain, developing a resilient approach can help everyone adapt to the constant changes. To cultivate resilience, a healthy balance between relaxation and focus must be maintained. You need to be patient with your team when they fail and at the same time encourage them only to do better.

  1. Discipline

Employees must be empowered to think and act like business owners which can transpire when leaders take a disciplined approach to excellence. Self-discipline paves the road for leaders to disrupt industries through innovation. Leaders are spearheading political and corporate empires that work as great inspiration for the youth, thereby propagating rapid growth and development globally. Being consistent in delivering objectives materialises motivation in an organisation to remain committed and persistent while ensuring the delivery of goals.

  1. Empathy

A team contains a variety of people because every person is different from the other. Different people specialise in different fields – and this kind of dynamism is vital to have in a team. Therefore a great leader understands the subtle differences between teammates and recognises the strength and weaknesses of every team member. How? The answer is good communication inside the team. Remember, nuanced understanding occurs through great listening and communication skills. Along with that, helping people overcome their weaknesses and working on their strengths are also good actions to take as a progressive leader navigating the challenges in a world where change is constant.   

Summary

Disruption causes stress, and getting back to normal, seems quite far-fetched. If one is open-minded, adaptable, empathetic, communicates coherently, and resilient, one cannot only cope with change but end up thriving in this evolving world. Disruptive leadership goes beyond embracing change and dealing with it – it is more about anticipating and enforcing change before it no longer remains an option. Innovation and disruption have become common in every sphere of our lives. It is great disruptive leadership that makes a real difference by inspiring people and helping them manoeuvre through chaotic times.

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