All true leadership is by nature disruptive. Leadership always takes people and organizations from where they are to where they want to be. While management can effectively maintain the status quo, it takes leadership to effect change.
Many pundits have offer their views on how management and leadership fit together or compliment each other. After more than thirty years of experience in working with and studying leaders and in leadership positions myself, I believe not all effective managers are leaders but all effective leaders must be good managers. Management is a subset of leadership.
What does that look like?
While leaders pursue change, they must manage the processes and principles that should not change.
When leaders nurture and grow their people, they manage the programs and systems that enable that growth.
Machine and non human assets–things–must be managed as they wear out, break down and need repair. But the adoption of the right things, whether technology or hard assets, is a leadership decision.
Years ago I heard a pastor say that if you aren’t getting resistance from the devil in your life, maybe you’re going the same direction. Maybe if you’re not meeting some resistance as a leader, you are simply going with the flow rather than disrupting the status quo.
The highest accomplishments take hard work. Change is especially difficult because people and systems by nature resist it and prefer to remain the same. Disruptive leadership unsettles organizational equilibrium and it takes energy to create movement towards a new vision.
Rather than seeing resistance as bad, look at it as possible confirmation that you are creating change (and make sure the resistance doesn’t come from doing the wrong things the wrong ways).
The perpetual question as a leader is, “Who or what needs disrupted?” Relationships often need attention or repair to be kept healthy and productive. Systems and processes that once worked well work less well over time and sometimes stop working completely.
Disruption needs to be a goal and a discipline that helps you keep innovating and growing.
Mark Sanborn is a bestselling author and acclaimed leadership keynote speaker. For more information about his services, visit www.marksanborn.com.