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Challenging the Status Quo: A Radical Approach to Leadership in Times of Change

In an age where the pace of change is not just fast but often disruptive, the traditional approaches to leadership must be called into question. Can the old guard’s strategies effectively guide us in the modern landscape, or is it time for a new breed of leaders to step up? The insights from Bob Maksimchuk’s Concepts in Leadership sessions prompt a critical examination of how emerging and established leaders navigate change.

The Psychology of Change: A Double-Edged Sword

While it’s widely recognized that we humans resist change due to the “status quo bias,” is this tendency merely a survival instinct, or has it become a convenient excuse for complacency in leadership? The protective instincts that once served as humanity’s lifeline now seem to hinder our progress and innovation. Leaders who cling to outdated methods, believing they are “safe,” might be the biggest impediments to organizational and personal growth.

Upending Traditional Leadership

The question is stark: Should established leaders be trusted to implement change when they are part of a system that resists it? Here’s why emerging leaders might be better suited to spearhead transformative efforts:

For Emerging Leaders:

  • Innovative Thinking Over Experience: Emerging leaders often bring fresh perspectives not tied down by “the way things have always been done.” Their willingness to question and redefine established norms can be more valuable than decades of experience within a stagnant system.
  • Agility Over Authority: New leaders are typically more adaptable and open to rapid changes, unlike seasoned leaders who may prioritize maintaining control over exploring new opportunities.

For Established Leaders:

  • A Challenge to Adapt: Established leaders need to radically rethink their roles. Instead of gatekeeping the old ways, they should become facilitators of innovation, using their experience to mentor rather than command.
  • Vision Over Comfort: Sticking with what’s known is comfortable, but true leadership involves pushing boundaries. Established leaders must demonstrate they can lead not just in stable times but also amid uncertainty.

Catalyzing a Culture Shift

Both sets of leaders have the potential to cultivate a culture that embraces change, but this requires a foundational shift in mindset:

  • Question Everything: Encourage a culture where questioning is the norm and every procedure is reevaluated regularly. This keeps the organization dynamic and ready to adapt.
  • Empower Through Risk: Rewarding safe choices reinforces a culture of caution. Instead, celebrate those who take calculated risks—even if they fail. This can foster an environment of learning and continuous improvement.
  • Transparent, Radical Communication: Move beyond merely open communication. Leaders should engage in radical transparency to break down barriers within the organization. This might involve uncomfortable but necessary conversations about what needs to change.


As we stand at the crossroads of tradition and innovation, the role of a leader is not just to manage change but to aggressively drive it. Emerging leaders are positioned to challenge the status quo and inject new life into stagnant areas.

In contrast, established leaders are called to redefine their legacy and become catalysts of bold, transformative change. This provocative stance on leadership invites us to rethink how we handle change and who is best equipped to lead it. In doing so, we may discover that the key to thriving in chaos is not more rigid control but greater flexibility and courage to redefine the future.

Remember, It’s Your Time to Lead®!


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