How Successful Leaders Navigate Disruption

Success during disruption is a function of opportunity, humility, talent, and focus – the elimination of distraction.

Ego hinders meaningful contribution. Avoid Superhero Syndrome. 

Superhero-leaders work too hard rescuing others.

It feels good to jump in. But when you do other people’s work, they resent you.

The urgency you solve is likely someone else’s job. Why are you diluting their contribution by jumping in?

Solving urgencies and neglecting priorities bolsters your ego. “See how busy I am!? But in the end, you let others know they don’t matter.

It’s dangerous to do other people’s work for them.

Vulnerability answers ego:

  1. Trust others. When you rescue competent people, you minimize talent and promote disengagement.
  2. Let others in. Ego creates loneliness. Vulnerability seeks input.

Disruption drains you. Self-care isn’t about being feeble. 

Everything’s worse when you’re weary. Fatigue magnifies obstacles and problems.

Rest enables grit. Sleep supports stamina.

You can redline for a few days, but everyone crashes unless they make pitstops. The ability to thrive during disruption requires rejuvenation.

Rest enables restraint. A good night’s sleep makes people less irritating. Relationships require patience, but fatigue is the enemy of forbearance.

An impatient leader ends up a lonely leader.

Uncertainty seeks stability. Protect rhythms and develop rituals. 

Meaningful work suffers when you chase disruptions. It might seem like you’re getting something done, but it’s often insignificant.

It takes two weeks to stop splashing around and find a rhythm during disruption.

Rhythm and ritual provide points of stability in uncertain environments.

Distraction damages effectiveness. Vibrating cell phones, email notifications, and unnecessary interruptions dilute contribution.

Leaders who thrive in disruption:

  1. Express gratitude frequently.
  2. Appreciate personal conversation. “How are you?”
  3. Eliminate clutter. Unnecessary distraction limits contribution.
  4. Solve problems. Talent rises to solve problems that matter. Problems become opportunities for solution-seeking teams.

Which of the above ideas is most relevant during disruption?

What leadership practices might you add to the above list?

Bonus material:

How to Get into a Rhythm at Work if you Can’t Stick to a Schedule (HBR)

How to Lead Effectively in a Disrupted World (CCL)

Brene’ Brown’s Netflix Special Busts Six Vulnerability Myths (PT)