Breaking the Pattern

Oct 21, 2019



Today’s leaders are in a rut. 


They think they are inspiring and capable, while their employees complain or even quit over their disappointing leadership. What’s worse is that employees who work for bad leaders often fall into the same patterns of their sub-par managers. 


So how can a leader actually inspire others? How can we as leaders, managers, and humans break the pattern that so many fall victim to?




Radical Trust

I believe the first and possibly the most important step in helping your employees succeed is trusting them. 


And not just with the tasks that they are expected to complete. If you can delegate responsibilities and not just tasks, you will win in business. 


That is what it’s all about. People want to work for a boss who understands them and trusts them to get the job done. And that doesn’t mean always doing it the way you think it should be done. 


As you try to break the pattern of leadership, give your employees permission to think differently and break the pattern of their business too. 


Does that scare you just a little bit? Good! Everyone can use a little more radical trust in their leadership. The good news is that if you have faith in the people you have hired, you have nothing to lose when it comes to giving them more responsibilities. 



A lot of people overcomplicate innovation.


If you want to get the best, most innovative content out of yourself, go back to what you love. It is really that simple. 


The concept of innovation means taking two things that exist and mixing them together in a way no one has ever thought of before. So think long and hard about the things that matter most to you and ways in which you can creatively combine them for the betterment of those around you.  


Still drawing a blank?


That’s okay, because you have people around you who are itching to innovate. If given the freedom to try new things, especially involving something they love, your people will not only be happier but also bring better work to the table. 


As leaders, we need to get out of the solo career mindset and be co-creators within our businesses.


This goes hand in hand with the idea of radical trust. Once we give our people the freedom to create without limits, we will find ourselves in places we never thought we could go – even if we fail along the way. 


Don’t Fear Failure

Okay, how many times have you been told that? 


In a world that puts such a high value on success, the idea of embracing failure can be crippling. Oftentimes it’s just easier to stick to what we know and to gloss over our inevitable failures. But that is what typical leaders do, and as we’ve established, we’re going to break the mold. 


Just as much as the idea of not fearing failure applies to life in general, it applies even more to the business world.


And here’s the kicker – it doesn’t just apply to you.


Not fearing failure means you don’t worry about the people who report to you failing. I would go so far as to encourage you to empower your team to fail…but also to dream bigger than they currently are. 


As leaders, we should be the first ones to ask for forgiveness and move on from mistakes. The reasons our employees aren’t comfortable with it is because we aren’t comfortable with it. So many people equate failure to being fired, causing a lot of anxiety over the idea of messing up. But if we encourage our people to fail forward, we can break the pattern of traditional leadership and influence them for the better. 




The HBR study mentioned at the beginning of this post found some shocking truths in the way employees interact with their managers. For the majority of cases, it was discovered that managers who were seen as good leaders by their subordinates, work under the leadership of good managers. The same idea is true for bad leaders who were usually employed under bad leadership. 


This trickle-down effect shows just how influential managers can be, even in the lives of those who don’t directly report to them. Though this idea can be detrimental when paired with bad management, it can change everything under a good leader. 


If you have experience working for bad management, left your job because of a bad leader, or have even fallen into the role of a bad manager, you have the ability to change your leadership for the better. Whatever role you currently hold within your business, the toxic leadership patterns can and will end with you. It all starts with exemplifying great leadership to those around you. 


For more on this topic, listen to the Renegade Leadership podcast – Break the Pattern, featuring Billy Boughey.

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