Pioneering leaders (and Everything DiSC)

Pioneering leaders (and Everything DiSC)

Updated August 2021

If you’re developing your leadership training or coaching a leader, you might want to focus on specific styles of leadership. Sometimes these seem to come naturally and sometimes they have to be studied and practiced. Either way, we hope this listing of additional readings can extend your training and conversations through assignments, book groups, or lunch discussions about leadership.

Pioneering leadershipWhat is a pioneering leader?

In terms of the Everything DiSC model, the pioneering dimension is located on the northern side of the model, which means that pioneering leaders tend to be fast-paced and outspoken. Pioneering leaders are aggressive about taking risks and enjoy the challenge of rallying people together to create an environment where creativity is encouraged.

Strengths of the pioneering leader:

  • They tend to be good at initiating change.
  • They often trust their gut instincts.
  • They’re able to bring people together to achieve their goals.
  • They tend to be inspiring.
  • They’re not afraid to try something new.
  • They’re comfortable taking the lead.
  • They set stretch goals for themselves and others.
  • They aren’t afraid to take risks.

Goals: Quick action, new opportunities, exciting breakthroughs

Would increase effectiveness through: Patience, humility, consideration

—Source: The 8 Dimensions of Leadership

What can we learn from pioneering leaders?

cartCurious about your own style? Take this quick leadership assessment.

What business leaders and researchers say about the pioneering leadership style

“[Innovation] requires a systematic policy to look, every six to twelve months, for changes that might be opportunities—in the areas that I call ‘the windows of opportunity.'”
— Peter Drucker, Innovation and Entrepreneurship

“Not much happens without a dream. And for something great to happen, there must be a great dream. Behind every great dream is a dreamer of great dreams. Much more than a dreamer is required to bring it to reality, but the dream must be there first.”
— Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness

“Leaders are pioneers—people who are willing to step out into the unknown. They search for opportunities to innovate, grow, and improve.”
— James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner, The Leadership Challenge

“Leaders inspire risk taking and learning by setting the example.”
— Jack Welch, Winning

“One measure of a leader’s effectiveness is the number of initiatives he or she personally champions. What projects has the leader started? What outcomes have this leader’s fingerprints all over them?”
— Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, The Handbook for Leaders: 24 Lessons for Extraordinary Leadership

Additional readings

How to make imagination a competitive advantage, Management Today
“Blue sky creativity isn’t just the realm of lone geniuses and small children. It can be systematised, says the chair of BCG Henderson Institute.”

Three Pioneering Business Leaders Share How They Leveled Up In The Face Of Adversity, Forbes
“At For(bes) The Culture’s Culturally Accountable Summit, three influential voices shared a common belief: that highlighting their diverse perspectives and authentic identities was integral to their business success.”

Supporting Pioneering Leaders as Communities of Practice, by Margaret J. Wheatley
“As pioneers, it is impossible to get it right the first time. No one has yet drawn accurate maps–explorers learn as they go. The maps that pioneers create will make it easy for large populations to migrate easily to the future, but their own explorations require great sacrifice and constant learning.”

Leading Change: Why transformation efforts fail, Harvard Business Review
“When is the urgency rate high enough? From what I have seen, the answer is when about 75% of a company’s management is honestly convinced that business as usual is totally unacceptable.”

2 Reasons Entrepreneurs Should Always Be Open to New Opportunities, Inc.
“One of the primary ways entrepreneurs grasp new opportunities is to look for pain points in the market.”

Readings to challenge the pioneering leader

Becoming a More Patient Leader, Harvard Business Review
A survey by a professor at Georgia Tech reveals that when leaders demonstrate patience, it significantly boosts their reports’ creativity, collaboration, and productivity.

10 Far-out Charismatic Leaders (and the Trouble They Caused), HowStuffWorks
“Of course, charisma isn’t always a positive thing. Some charismatic leaders can get people to do some pretty awful things. Remember how Jim Jones got 900 members of his People’s Temple to commit mass suicide in the jungles of Guyana?”

Do you have any additional readings to add to this list?

by Kristeen Bullwinkle and the team


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