Challenging the Status Quo as a leadership behavior requires some finesse on the leader's part. The leaders must strike a balance between challenging the status quo respectfully and being a team player.
Leaders who are open to new ideas are more effective than leaders who close off new information or approaches. Openness to other's ideas invites participation and increases the quality of interaction between leader and follower.
Men and women who lead challenge differently and are perceived differently when they do. Brain science show that male brain patterns and female brain patterns differ. More men are wired to take risks in both leadership decision making and in their career choices.
More women are wired to consider options more deeply and to use information and options to then choose a more certain path. This also holds for both leadership and career decisions.
The situation will inform about which approach or combination and timing of approaches will provide the best business option and likelihood of success.
Taking calculated risk is perceived as a leadership behavior that can lead to innovation, process improvement and perhaps transformational leadership. Research shows that individuals will risk challenging the status quo only when two conditions are met: 1. They have a high quality relationship with their leader 2. They know it's their job to bring up new ideas
In most businesses, the status quo is to keep individuals who produce financially, even when they violate corporate values. Leaders who challenge that and bring that person to heel or make them available to industry, gain the respect of followers.
It is sometimes difficult for an internal person to consistently challenge and still be perceived as a good employee. In cases where the employee has a longer time horizon than the boss, the employee may become frustrated that the boss doesn't see the long term consequences of decisions and the boss may be frustrated with the employee's constant challenges.
Some leaders are not open to challenge, so it is important to choose carefully those issues worth challenging and to what degree. Another technique is to bring in an external person, such as a consultant to deliver the challenging news. The consultant can then play the role of the loyal opposition.
Challenging the Status Quo is a "Goldilocks" behavior, not too much and not too little, get it just right.