How A Leader Must Challenge the Status Quo

Every single leader, movement, and organization that has ever wanted to create greatness has had to challenge the status quo but some leaders are afraid of the challenge because it would mean they would need to entice improvements, to assemble advancements and to dig deeper into development.

So how does a leader challenge the status quo? They have to have an open heart, open will and open mind.

To have an open heart, you need to inspire and encourage others to take a chance.

To have an open will, you must be willing to risk and take bold steps.

To have an open mind, you need to constantly be learning and growing.

Every challenge involves confronting the status quo. This precept means we have to test the unproven, dive deep in the unspoken, and challenge the unchallenged.

To move from mediocrity to greatness, we must venture out.

To build something substantial, we must take a strong stand.

To create something meaningful, we must create significance.

Nothing great is ever achieved by doing things the way they have always been done.

To challenge the status quo we must take one fearless choice at a time, one brave decision at a time, one courageous action at a time.

These choices, decisions, and actions transform challenges into exploration, risk into reward, and fear into determination.

Start by asking yourself:

  • What needs to be challenged?
  • What needs to be improved?
  • What is the greatest risk?
  • What can I expect?
  • What can I learn?

When we challenge the status quo, we test our skills and we challenge ourselves.

We are not here to stay content. We are here to do better. The gift of life is to make a difference, and the call of leadership is to say this is not good enough.

We have the choice to make things better.

We have an obligation to challenge the status quo.

When we meet that obligation, we are inspiring others to do better and think bigger.

After challenging the status quo ask yourself:

  • What have I learned?
  • What did I not expect?
  • What went right?
  • What went wrong?
  • What would I do differently?
  • What could I have done better?

Don’t challenge for challenge’s sake; learn from the experience.
When we challenge the status quo, we believe that our abilities will be able to make a difference.

What action will you take to challenge the status quo?

Lead from within: Challenging the status quo is inspiring ordinary people to become extraordinary leaders.

Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

  1. Bruce Van Horn @BruceVH

    21. Aug, 2012

    Lolly, this is a great post and a great challenge for us to move into something new. So often we just keep doing what we’ve been doing because it’s comfortable. Sometimes we are just worn out from the stresses of life and don’t have the energy to try something new.

    I heard recently that, in order to try something new, we must have a greater fear of regret than a fear of failure.

    You’ve challenged us to break out of our stagnation and into vibrant streams of creativity. Thank you!!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Adriaan Adams

    22. Aug, 2012

    Great article, truly inspiring…
    Thank you…

    Reply to this comment
  3. Allen Slade

    23. Aug, 2012

    Lolly, great post. Managers maintain the status quo, while leaders challenge it. Managers color within the lines, while leaders wonder about trading the crayons in for Play-Doh. All organizations need managers and leaders. In a stable situation, management is often the critical success factor. But most organizations and most people live in flux. Your observation that “Leaders challenge the status quo to entice improvements” is the new critical success factor.

    Reply to this comment
  4. Gary Thompson

    06. Sep, 2012

    As a pastor I wish every church leader could read tnis. Great “start”questions.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Pure Leverage Blog

    19. Apr, 2013

    I really like what you guys are up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the superb works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Rajesh

    29. Jan, 2014

    Very honestly Lolly great job, i like leadership quote & your creative collection definitely help to boost the challenge status quo for make difference. that’s good thing keep posting & developing leaders for better future

    Lolly if possible please reply on my mail
    [email protected]

    thank you

    Reply to this comment
  7. Lori Polachek

    01. Mar, 2014

    Great post- thanks for sharing.
    I am learning that there is a balance to the dance of challenging the status quo- especially for someone who does not have positional authority- challenging the powers that be.
    It takes patience, persistence and openness to exploring and addressing resistance. Without the right sensitivity and skill and engaging support from the power structure, the best of intentions risk being thwarted by a power base that may be vested in maintaining even a sub-optimal status quo.
    Thanks for raising this important component of leadership.

    Reply to this comment
  8. Tamatha Gilbert

    09. Aug, 2014

    Outstanding Post! Timely, informative, and right on point! To make a difference, be the difference! Thanks for sharing!



    Reply to this comment
  9. Caroline Silasil

    20. Aug, 2014

    Very inspiring !!!

    Reply to this comment
  10. Sergey Yatsenko

    26. Oct, 2014

    Hi, Lolly. Leadership: Challenging The Status Quo – This is good suggestion to the real Thought Leader. Critical Thinking give new Mindset, becoming a Thought Leader. Thought Leader can realize new Business Decisions . Now, I see the Transformation of Thought Leader : On – line Consulting for CEO & SME’s , about New Business Opportunity for SME’s with Social Media / Next Level /. Best Regards, Sergey .

    Reply to this comment
  11. robin

    08. Nov, 2014

    leave behind our comfort blanket of familiarity

    Reply to this comment
  12. Lesley

    10. Jan, 2016

    Challenging the status quo is never easy but you have provided some really helpful ideas to help us learn how to do this more effectively. Cheers!

    Reply to this comment
  13. Kalaluka Nasilele

    29. Sep, 2017

    This has actually imspired me and am pretty sure it has changed my mindset! @KNasilele

    Reply to this comment
  14. Irma

    05. May, 2018

    Great post!

    Reply to this comment

    30. Oct, 2018

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    It is difficult to emerge status symbols while adhering to the status quo.

    ~Mr Impact

    Reply to this comment
  16. Mian Sharif

    04. Dec, 2018

    Lolly your article is really inspiring and motivational in every kind of work and in each action in our daily life. it has inspired me, it is an outstanding post. Allen’s comments justifies your thought full skills. I Love to read such great writings.

    Reply to this comment
  17. Satyajit Nath

    12. Jan, 2019

    Lolly, excellent post.
    Reality is to do good business is to challenge The Status Quo. game changer thought process comes when Vibrant team works together to bring changes by challenging The Status Quo.

    Reply to this comment
  18. Rayudu Addagarla

    15. Oct, 2020

    Its simple , concise and gets the point out.
    One certainly needs to be a critical thinker.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Fiona Manonn

    21. Jun, 2021

    I really really want to actually express my very appreciation as well as all my gratitude for all the very hard work that all these organisations had just been doing each as well as every single time for creating so very awareness in our society that will actually take us towards the very betterment of our very country.

    Reply to this comment

Leave a Reply