Disruptive leadership

In this world of information technology things seem to be evolving faster than we are able to keep track. Something that is useful today can wake up the next day obsolete and irrelevant.

I still remember when cameras with negatives came, it was the in thing, but when digital pitched up they swiftly disappeared. I have a stack of audio cassettes and I love the music so much, but I no longer have the platform on which to play. During the 1900s and before, children’s napkins made good sense to use, but now diapers have taken over. People don’t want to waste time and they need fast and instant results. I cannot remember when I last saw a typewriter because there is something that has made its work fast, efficient, effective and even user friendly.

This is a fast age. An era of “Big data”! In leadership it gives us lessons. The emerging gadgets are very disruptive put important at the same time. It takes game changers to enjoy their fruits. They may destroy jobs, but create others for those people that are well prepared for our times. Some people get rewarded and others are helplessly thrown out of the ship. There is no one to blame really, it’s just the times we are in and I somehow consider myself very fortunate to have lived in this era. As we get into 2016, normal leaders are going to be rewarded normally, while extraordinary ones are going to reap exceptionally

One of the richest people in China Jack Ma, who founded Alibaba Group said: “Please tell your children that the world is changing everyday and no one is going to wait for you in the past. When the lighter was invented, matches slowly disappeared. When the calculator was created, the abacus was to fade away. When the digital camera was designed, the market of negative film no longer existed. When direct market selling/Internet-based selling arises, traditional marketing declines. When smartphone with 4G (wireless Internet access) was introduced to the world, you no longer need to turn on your computer at home. When WeChat and WhatsApp (mobile text/voice/video messaging) were developed, traditional text messaging was no longer as popular as before. Let’s not blame ‘who took over whose business.’ It’s only because people are more adjustable and adaptable to new ideas and changes in the world”

The world is changing and it never waits for no one. It’s either you are watching others work and you are a mere recipient and helplessly following the change. The late Peter Drucker pointed out correctly when he said this is an era of the three C’s — accelerated change, overwhelming complexity, and tremendous competition. It either you are part of the game, out of the game or beaten by the game.


This is a time we need transformational and trans-generational thinkers. A leader should lead in new ideas. Going to university has never been enough, because we now see dropouts being leaders of the inventions. They carry no certificate, but their followers are innumerable and their bank account bulging. The great example is the Facebook leader (Mark Elliot Zuckerberg). What do you have to offer? Thinking is not the mental activity which happens with everyone, but the inventiveness.



The word “creative” is derived from the word “create”. It relates to the use of imagination to create something. Traditional leadership has been seen as being the top guy in an institute and getting the highest salary. But the true leader is someone who is creative or motivates team players to think above the set standards. Let’s take stock as leaders: What new things have you brought to your company, church, country and community? This involves: Ideas, methods or meaningful progress.


Being disruptive in the general sense may look very negative, but we have seen positive disruption happening. Being disruptive is being hungry to see and make change happen. It’s a state being unsatisfied with the status quo. Some would think it’s fighting with the status quo or being fought against. Hence the reason of seeing a threat when the “led” seem to be better than the “leader”.


Competition is fierce. Average performance is just as dangerous this day. Being in a competition without full knowledge about the rules of the game is even more dangerous. For example, if you look into how banks are performing in Zimbabwe you can see major differences among the players. Some banks still perform as they used to 10 years back and new players are very attractive to the younger generation who want to do everything just at the click of a button. For some banks, you have to go where they are located and do a paper transaction. Worse still the queues are never ending. The next winner in the banking sector is the one who will employ the “now technologies”. For example, I don’t need to go to a specific location just to check how much I have in my account; telephone technology has made that possible.


When change is taking place no one can stop it. Yes, people might speak evil against it as a way of not wanting to embrace it. At times, change brings pain. Remember, when we go though problems or plights, it’s not how painful it was, but who you become at the end. It might be hard to bring change.

People are going to talk you down. Your family is going to deny you, but keep rocking. As you try to improve what you found, you face so much of opposition. At times life hits you hard. It hurts! Life was never meant to be given on a silver platter. Your life is yours, you are in charge, just change. You might be down now, but that does not mean your end. You are bigger than your hardships. Hardships give in to people that have grit to grind those hardships.

Do you know that at times to our surprise the so-called rebels of our time are swiftly becoming our leaders? Why? They have an intuition to see more than an ordinary person and as a result they oppose the current state of affairs and risk doing the new thing. As you are leading people, it very important to spot individuals that are ready to embrace and bring change.
At times you might be the top person, but you have to be willing to work with ideas that other people have brought. At the end people will think it’s your idea. At times leaders don’t have to invent anything, but should be able to appreciate the power that other people have and use it to the benefit of their institution.

As we enter 2016

2015 might have been hard, but what are you going to do in 2016? Life has never been easy. If it was, all people would be successful. Life is going to hit you hard, the worst thing is not falling down, but staying down. Don’t give up. Keep moving foward. Get up and never give up. The first person to cause real change is you. Some people spend time learning about others, learning about celebrities, but they know little about themselves. Invest in yourself. You have something special within you. Spend hours on your own. Rehearse your greatness and leadership. Work out that potential and be the next great leader.

As I end, at times you have to make a decision not approved by others, that’s a tough decision that a leader has to make. You have to be ready to stand for any outcome.

●Jonah Nyoni is an author, success coach and leadership trainer. He can be contacted on 0772 581 918 or email: jonah@classicmail.co.za

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