Why We Need Disruptive Voices

One of the things I expect from employees is for them to have a voice – and use it! When they see something that seems wrong or confusing, I want them to be confident enough to say something about it. The willingness of employees to be disruptive is crucial to our success as an organization. Without it, there would be more mistakes, and we wouldn’t be nearly as innovative.

Most days I am moving fast – going from one task or project to the next, and making multiple decisions on a variety of different initiatives. And sometimes I forget something. Sometimes I am simply looking at something a different way, and sometimes I’m just wrong! These are times when I need to be able to rely on those around me and trust that they are willing to call me out and challenge my thinking and decisions.

In practice, these interactions are not conflictual – they are more matter of fact. It may sound something like this: “Hold on Randy, have you thought about…?” Sometimes hearing a new perspective ultimately changes my decision, and sometimes not. When it doesn’t, I still value the fact that the person cared enough to ask questions, raise a point for consideration, or directly challenge my thinking.

Disruptive voices become muted in a culture of fear.

Some managers may think of disruptive voices as negative and irritating, but I don’t believe this to be true at all. Time and again, I have seen how they help our organization. Here is a short list of some of the things I value about disruptive voices:

  • They help foster innovation
  • They prevent mistakes
  • They can turn good ideas into great ideas
  • They bring forth new ideas

One thing I’ve learned is that disruptive voices become muted in a culture of fear. So, in order to tap into the benefits of disruptive voices, leadership needs to first establish a culture that is void of fear – one that is built on a foundation of relationships and trust.


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Randy Grieser, Author & Speaker

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