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How to Challenge the Status Quo as a Leader


“The manager accepts the status quo. The leader challenges it.” - Warren Bennis


If you take a closer look, the status quo is formed through society’s biases. It is formed by what people deem as comfortable and always finds itself shaken when someone challenges it.


It is common for leaders to want greatness and success in their company or organization. In fact, leaders throughout history are well-known for doing the unthinkable and rattling the status quo. That does not negate the fact that leaders are scared to confront it because doing so would need them to entice improvements, assemble advancements, and delve further into development. According to Harvard Business Review, 72% of executives never or rarely challenge their status quo, and only a small percentage urge their people to think beyond the box.


But challenging the status quo, however, does not require a lot of work. By taking the following actions, you can encourage a workplace culture that makes employees think out of the box.

View Different Perspectives

As a leader, there is a chance that you thought that particular policies and training methods are working because no one has spoken a word about it. Have you asked them, though?



Inviting employees to share different perspectives and taking the time to genuinely listen to them can provide you and your company with fresh, new ideas that can lead you from mediocrity to greatness. These new perspectives can also push you to venture out as a leader to look beyond whatever methods and policies you already have in place. The goal here should be to understand whoever is affected by specific policies and training methods.

Keep Asking Questions


This is the most important action to take when taking on a new perspective. Not only does this apply to the way you communicate with your team, but it also to how you communicate with yourself as a leader.

Asking yourself questions like “What needs to be challenged?” or “What is the biggest risk I can take?” tests your abilities and encourages you to challenge yourself. Once you find yourself developing solid answers, you can ask your employees these questions as well. There is a chance that you will realize that a major overhaul is not required, but rather a few small adjustments that can engage everyone a little bit more.


Communication with your team on a one-on-one or small group basis is an excellent approach to gradually shift away from the existing state of affairs and toward something more significant.

Get Ready for Change


Before you implement any changes, take into account various consequences and possibilities. Ensure that before, during, and after the implementation of changes, you have a solid process in place. When it comes to your company's finances, this is extremely crucial. You must ensure that your business strategy can sustain the costs of expansion.


Additionally, if you need help, do not be scared to ask for it. You can save time and money by seeking guidance from a trained specialist. Preparation can go a long way toward ensuring that changes run smoothly and successfully.


Throughout the process, keep in mind that you are not challenging the status quo for the challenge’s sake. It is to encourage employees to learn from experience and advocate for change when it is necessary. Begin by setting an example of innovation, demonstrating to others that it is possible to try something different and succeed. Many will follow in your footsteps if you lead with courage and confidence. The status quo will be a thing of the past before you realize it.

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