“Disruptive ” has become the name of the game in business, whether as a consequence of proactive company leaders seeking a competitive edge or as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, disruption is more than just new products or services; the success of the enormous shift is primarily dependent on the disruptive leader and how he or she handles all stakeholders – from rank-and-file employees to board members.
You simply cannot be disruptive until you understand who and what you are disrupting. The route is littered with disruptors who had no idea what the consequences of their disruptive activities might be.
The core foundation of an organization must be its mission, culture, and values. It is crucial, especially during difficult times of upheaval, to know that the organization is designed to achieve the appropriate goals and that the leader is in sync with all of his employees. Personal interactions are important throughout the organization.
Here are five pointers to assist CEOs in managing employees, corporate leaders, and board members when guiding a business through disruption:
Encourage Open Conversation
When I was CEO of Kindred Healthcare LLC, we bought Gentiva Health Services, publicly-traded home health, and hospice firm, in a hostile takeover. Before that, I needed to work on communication at all levels to ease the transition and create trust.
When attempting anything as disruptive as a takeover of a public firm, where your widget is people and the product is delivering care, you must maintain stability in both the operations and the product itself. If I couldn’t achieve it, then being a disruptor would be pointless. I persuaded the rank-and-file that the acquisition would be a good thing for their teams. The communications department galvanized their organization behind the transaction.
Recognize that each Employee and Boss is Unique, and Lead Appropriately
Managing a full team during a disruption needs the CEO to take a tailored and customized strategy. Different forms of acts motivate team members. “I treat all my players differently,” Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson once said. “It’s about knowing how to treat people personally and applying the correct motivators that affect them, as Jimmy Johnson recognized.” Some people want to be dragged, while others prefer to be pushed, while yet others prefer to be left alone. A good CEO’s task is to recognize those particular characteristics and make the most of the collective team.
Establish Relationships, Beginning with Management
The CEO, as the senior leader who reports to the board, is the eyes and ears on the ground, seeing things in real-time and experiencing events in ways that the board cannot. As a result, a successful CEO would cultivate personal ties with board members to understand what truly inspires them. These proactive efforts ensure that when you require assistance or votes, the board recognizes and trusts you.
Take a Step Back
This method is defined by me as ensuring that each team member understands their task and is correctly positioned. It entails strategically deploying each employee and management in ways that best suit the individual, which necessitates the top leader to understand each employee’s and manager’s strengths and weaknesses and empower them to accomplish what they do best.
Take a Slanted Approach
One of the most effective strategies for a CEO to establish relationships with team members is to avoid asking them to do things that the CEO would not be willing to undertake. Going a step further, a leader getting his or her hands filthy and demonstrating a willingness to be gritty are powerful motivators that can help teams get through challenging situations.
Disruptive leadership is a collaborative effort. To survive in a disruptive climate, any leader who wishes to manage risks must have a strong and supportive team.
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