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Making Disruptive Leadership Work: 5 Habits of Disruptive Leadership

Posted by Ron Diorio on


The word “disruptive” often has a negative connotation and according to the dictionary, it doesn’t describe qualities that are often associated with strong, positive leadership. This can have many people confused with regards to disruptive leadership, but in reality, it can be the ultimate way to success. Disruptive leadership is all about interrupting the “normal” behaviors of leaders in order to practice innovative, diverse and new methods. As a result, radiate, dynamic leaders are created. Below we describe 5 habits of disruptive leaders to serve as a foundation for what you'll learn in's Making Disruptive Leadership Work online course by NYU professor Anat Lechner.


  1. They are on a relentless pursuit of the truth

Disruptive leaders will constantly seek and speak the truth because not telling others what they have noticed can be incredibly damaging to the company. The last thing any business needs is someone that will tell everyone to keep calm and carry on with their job. The truth is, is that continual success is at the hands of everyone in the business. Disruptive leaders include and inform everyone within their team about the truth, so that together, any concerns can be addressed. Additionally, disruptive leaders are continuously seeking to discover whether the current business strategies are effective, and will speak up when they aren’t. The truth may not always be desirable, but it is mandatory to take proper action and to make imperative decisions.


  1. They’re decisive

On that note, it makes sense to mention that disruptive leaders are decisive. When others are contemplating something, a disruptive leader will take charge and make the decisions that are needed. Those that possess the traits of disruptive leadership are intuitive, and have no difficulty informing the team about what they want, when and why. More importantly, they will participate in the action needed to make the change happen.


  1. They will guide others through difficult, chaotic situations

For any kind of leader, they need to be comfortable in all situations, whether positive or negative; they need to be able to handle the reality of change. Things can be very unpredictable within the business industry, and this can send people into a chaotic frenzy. Disruptive leaders not only know how to handle tough, stressful situations, but will guide their team through them as well, with confidence. Others are equally comfortable with their ability to handle chaotic situations with a level head, which keeps the entire operation stable with any changes that emerge. Often times, this is all about communication. A key trait of disruptive leadership is the ability to explain in factual, practical terms how the changes will affect the company, and what they’re going to do about it as a team.


  1. They’re not threatened by uncertainty

With the prior mentioned, it makes sense that disruptive leaders thrive on uncertainty. They expect the unexpected, and prosper with even the highest levels of uncertainty. This is an important component to disruptive leadership, as you don’t always know if or how something will work until it is put into action. Having a leader on the team that will remain levelheaded despite having to modify their plans as a result of discrepancies is key. They have a method for dealing with mayhem that many other's don't have.


  1. They will break the rules in order to make better ones

If you think back to the term “disruptive” as it was explained previously, breaking the rules should not come to you as a surprise. “Normal” is usually not in the cards for disruptive leaders. They will break the rules, but only to create better, more effective ones. This is a huge benefit because the market is always changing, and as such, business practices need to be as well. Disruptive leaders will create a new “normal” that fits for the current time - until it’s time to break and remake them.


Disruptive leadership is a huge factor in the success of many businesses today. See how it can benefit your company or career by taking the Making Disruptive Leadership online course on today.


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