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10 Leadership Virtues Review: Guide for Disruptive Times – Ziglar

Navigating through disruptive times requires a special kind of leadership, one that Tom Ziglar masterfully outlines in his guide, “10 Leadership Virtues for Disruptive Times.” As we dive into this treasure trove of wisdom, I’ll share insights that are not just transformative but essential for anyone looking to lead with impact and integrity in today’s ever-changing world.

Why listen to me, Mike Piet, on this? Well, I’ve spent years dissecting the DNA of successful leadership, both in practice and through a voracious appetite for leadership literature. My journey has equipped me with a keen eye for what truly works, making me your trusty guide through Ziglar’s principles.

In this exploration, we’ll uncover three key takeaways: the power of adaptability, the importance of leading with empathy, and the undeniable impact of resilience. These virtues are more than just strategies; they’re the cornerstone of leadership that thrives amidst chaos and change.

Overview of “10 Leadership Virtues for Disruptive Times by Tom Ziglar”

In the spirit of continuous learning, I dove headfirst into Tom Ziglar’s guide, 10 Leadership Virtues for Disruptive Times. This book isn’t just a manual; it’s a compass for steering through the stormy waters of today’s business world. Ziglar’s framework is built on the foundation that leadership isn’t a title or position, but a series of actions and decisions.

Embrace Adaptability to Stay Ahead

One virtue that Ziglar hammers home is adaptability. Remember the story of Blockbuster? They failed to adapt to the digital age, and well, we all know how that story ended. Netflix, on the other hand, understood adaptability. They transitioned from mail-order DVD service to streaming giant, embodying the essence of Ziglar’s teachings.

Lead with Empathy

Leading with empathy is another virtue that Ziglar stresses. It reminds me of the time I had to navigate my team through the sudden shift to remote work. I listened, understood their challenges, and together, we found solutions that worked for everyone. This empathetic approach not only kept morale high but also ensured we remained productive during uncertain times.

Resilience is Your Superpower

Ziglar places a strong emphasis on resilience. It’s about bouncing back stronger after setbacks. A 2017 study by the American Psychological Association showed that resilience leads to better job satisfaction and overall well-being. In my experience, fostering a culture of resilience has not only helped my team tackle challenges head-on but also encouraged innovation and creativity.

Cultivate a Culture of Continuous Learning

The virtue of continuous learning is pivotal in Ziglar’s framework. Industries evolve, technologies advance, and staying stagnant is not an option. I’ve made it a point to encourage my team to set aside time for upskilling. It’s not just about attending workshops or seminars; it’s about cultivating a mindset that’s always curious, always learning.

Virtue 1: Visionary Leadership

Let me dive into something I believe is the bedrock of impactful leadership – visionary leadership. I’ve seen firsthand how a clear, compelling vision can transform an average team into a powerhouse. Think of it as the North Star, guiding ships through stormy seas; that’s exactly what visionary leadership does for organizations. It’s about seeing beyond the horizon, imagining what could be, and then rallying people to that cause. Elon Musk with SpaceX, for instance, wasn’t just about building rockets; he envisioned human life on Mars, tapping into the collective imagination and aspiration of his team and the world at large.

The Impact of a Vision: Statistics show that companies led by visionary leaders tend to outperform their peers. A study by Harvard Business Review highlighted that companies with high-level strategic vision had a 32% higher growth rate compared to those without. This stat alone shouts the significance of having a clear, ambitious vision. It’s not just about setting goals; it’s about setting a purpose that inspires, motivates, and aligns everyone’s efforts.

As someone who’s passionate about self-improvement and leadership, I’ve experienced the power of vision in my personal projects. When I started my blog, the vision wasn’t just to write articles; it was to inspire change and provoke thought. This visionary approach not only kept me focused but also attracted like-minded individuals to my platform. The traction I gained was phenomenal, much more than I had anticipated.

Walking the Talk – Leading by Example: It’s one thing to have a vision, but another to live by it. Visionary leaders are always on the front lines, embodying the vision they preach. Steve Jobs is a classic example, wearing his iconic turtleneck and jeans not just as a personal style statement but as a symbol of Apple’s design simplicity and innovation. I strive to embody this in my own endeavors, ensuring that every action I take aligns with my ultimate goals.

Adapt or Perish: As mentioned in the context of adaptability and Netflix’s triumph, visionary leadership is also about anticipating changes and adapting ahead of time. This foresight and flexibility are what keep visionary leaders, and consequently, their organizations, ahead of the curve.

Virtue 2: Authenticity and Transparency

As we dive into Virtue 2: Authenticity and Transparency, it’s crucial to remember that, as a self-help enthusiast, I’ve seen firsthand how these elements can make or break a leader. In the fast-paced world we’re navigating, where information is at our fingertips, being genuine isn’t just nice—it’s necessary.

Having an Open Door Policy Isn’t Enough Anymore. We’re talking about a level of openness that goes beyond just being available. It’s about sharing your thought process, the why behind your decisions, which I learned the hard way when I led my first team. Without transparency, even the best strategies can fall apart because team members might not fully buy into the vision.

Authenticity Breeds Trust. It’s simple; people follow leaders they trust. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that 58% of employees would trust a stranger more than their own boss if they perceive them as inauthentic. That was a wake-up call for me, emphasizing the need to be myself, flaws and all. It’s about showing up as you are, not who you think you should be.

Transparency Encourages Open Dialogue. I remember when I started being more transparent with my team, the shift was almost immediate. Suddenly, everyone was more willing to speak up, share ideas, and point out flaws, knowing they wouldn’t be met with defense or dismissal. This openness didn’t just improve our projects; it strengthened our team bond.

Resilience Through Authenticity and Transparency. During turbulent times, these virtues are your anchor. They remind you and your team of the common goal and humanize the journey, making obstacles feel more like bumps than mountains. My experience taught me that when a leader is transparent about challenges and authentic in their commitment to overcoming them, it inspires unparalleled loyalty and effort from their team.

Maintaining these virtues isn’t just beneficial; it’s imperative for any leader aiming to thrive in disruptive times. Each conversation, decision, and action is an opportunity to practice authenticity and transparency, shaping a culture that not only adapts but excels.

Virtue 3: Courage in Decision-Making

In Tom Ziglar’s take on leadership virtues during disruptive times, courage in decision-making stands out as both a challenge and a necessity. I remember a quote I stumbled upon once, “Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it.” This speaks volumes, especially in a leadership context. When faced with uncertainty or disruption, the ability to make bold decisions is what separates effective leaders from mere managers.

I’ve seen this in action during my time leading projects in tech startups. The tech industry, notorious for its fast-paced and ever-changing nature, often requires snap decisions that could either catapult the company forward or send it spiraling. Therefore, bold decision-making is not just about taking risks; it’s about calculated risks, informed by data, intuition, and the confidence to stand by your choices.

Let’s take a look at some compelling data. A study by the Harvard Business Review found that leaders who exhibited high levels of decisiveness, even amidst uncertainty, were 12% more likely to lead successful projects. This statistic highlights the tangible impact courage in decision-making has on outcomes.

Incorporating this virtue into your leadership toolbox isn’t an overnight process. It’s a blend of self-awareness, experience, and continuous learning. My journey taught me that the more I leaned into discomfort, the more resilient and confident I became in my decision-making abilities.

Experts often suggest stepping outside your comfort zone as a method to build this virtue. I took this advice to heart, making a habit of challenging my own assumptions and encouraging open debate among my team. This not only sharpened my decision-making skills but also fostered a culture of transparency and trust.

Reflecting on personal experiences and stories from other leaders, it’s evident that courage in decision-making is a rare but developable trait. It requires embracing failure as part of the growth process and viewing each challenge as an opportunity to learn and adapt. Whether it’s strategizing under pressure or having the tenacity to persevere despite setbacks, this virtue is about moving forward with conviction, even when the path is unclear.

Virtue 4: Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

In exploring Tom Ziglar’s virtues for thriving in disruptive times, we pivot to a crucial element that often gets overshadowed: Emotional Intelligence (EI) in Leadership. I’ve seen firsthand how EI separates the good leaders from the truly great ones, transforming challenges into opportunities with empathy and understanding.

The Heartbeat of Team Dynamics

Remember, at its core, leadership is about people. And people, well, we’re emotional beings. Emotional intelligence is the key to unlocking the potential within each team member. It’s about listening, really listening, and adapting your leadership style to meet them where they are.

Navigating the Emotional Landscape

One statistic that struck me was from a study by the Emotional Intelligence Service, stating that leaders with high EI have teams with 53% higher morale. This wasn’t surprising, given how morale can soar when a leader demonstrates genuine empathy and concern for their team’s well-being.

Putting EI Into Practice

Let me share a story. In a project I led last year, we hit a significant roadblock. The team was frustrated, tensions were high, and morale was low. However, by applying EI principles—particularly, acknowledging emotions without judgment and actively seeking out everyone’s input—we navigated the situation with grace and emerged stronger.

The Ripple Effect of Emotional Leadership

Leaders who prioritize emotional intelligence create environments where creativity, innovation, and cooperation flourish. They understand that emotions drive people and people drive performance. It’s a powerful cycle that, when nurtured, leads to unparalleled success.

I’ve learned that elevating emotional intelligence in leadership isn’t just a good idea; it’s essential. By fostering a culture of empathy, respect, and understanding, we lay the foundation for teams that can weather any storm. And in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing landscape, isn’t that exactly what we need?

Virtue 5: Innovation and Adaptability

Why Change is Your Best Friend

I’ve always held onto the belief that innovation and adaptability are the real game-changers in any leader’s playbook. In Tom Ziglar’s insights, these aren’t just virtues; they’re necessities for survival in today’s fast-paced world. Remember the time when I had to pivot my entire project strategy overnight? That was adaptability in action, and believe me, it paid off big time.

Adapt or Be Left Behind

In an era where technologies and markets evolve at the speed of light, sticking to the old ways is like signing your venture’s death warrant. A study by McKinsey showed that companies that prioritize innovation and adaptability grow revenues at a rate 2.5 times faster than the industry average. This isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s a must-do. Embracing change has allowed me to stay two steps ahead, even when the future seems foggy.

Innovation Isn’t Just for the Techies

Many folks think innovation is all about inventing the next big tech gadget. But here’s the kicker: innovation is just as much about thinking creatively and solving problems in new ways. Whether it’s improving team communication or streamlining operations, small innovations can lead to massive improvements. One of my proudest moments was when a simple change in our feedback process boosted team morale and productivity like never before.

Flexibility Is Power

The ability to adapt isn’t just about changing direction; it’s about doing it swiftly and smoothly. I’ve seen leaders who struggle to let go of their initial plans, only to realize later that flexibility could have saved them a lot of trouble. Learning to be flexible has helped me overcome challenges that seemed insurmountable at first.

Cultivating a Culture of Innovation

Creating an environment where everyone feels empowered to suggest changes and explore new ideas is crucial. When team members realize that their input can lead to real changes, it fosters a culture of continuous improvement. “Innovation”- it’s not just a buzzword in our team; it’s our everyday mantra.

Virtue 6: Resilience and Grit

Embracing the Bounce-Back. I’ve always believed that resilience isn’t just about bouncing back from adversity; it’s about coming back stronger. It reminds me of this one time I missed a crucial deadline, and instead of spiraling down, I used that setback as a stepping stone to develop a more efficient workflow. That moment was a classic resilience test, and boy, did I learn from it.

Grit: The Fuel Behind Endurance. Grit is that inner force that keeps us marching forward, even when the odds are stacked against us. A study from the University of Pennsylvania found that grit is a significant predictor of success. It’s not just about talent or intelligence, but the passion and perseverance for long-term goals.

Resilience in Action. Remember, resilience isn’t a trait you’re born with; it’s developed through challenges. I once interviewed a CEO who had to pivot her entire business model due to a disruptive technology. Her ability to embrace change and push through adversity was nothing short of inspiring. She told me, “It’s all about finding a way to turn every setback into a setup for something greater.”

Building Grit through Daily Habits. Developing grit isn’t an overnight process. It involves setting challenging yet achievable goals, sticking to them despite obstacles, and maintaining a growth mindset. For instance, I’ve made it a habit to set weekly personal milestones, no matter how small, to consistently push my limits.

The Unbreakable Spirit of Leadership. Leaders with resilience and grit inspire their teams to persevere through thick and thin. These virtues create a culture where failure isn’t seen as the end but as a valuable lesson. As mentioned, fostering an innovative mindset requires empowering your team to embrace challenges boldly, and it’s the resilient and gritty leaders who pave the way.

In the world of constant change and disruption, resilience and grit stand out as beacons for those aspiring to lead effectively. Through personal setbacks and witnessing the steadfast determination of successful leaders, I’ve come to appreciate these virtues not just as desirable traits but as essential armor for navigating the tumultuous waters of today’s business landscape.

Virtue 7: Empowering Others

In Tom Ziglar’s insightful exploration of leadership virtues for disruptive times, one standout principle is undoubtedly the virtue of Empowering Others. This resonates deeply with me, Mike Piet, as I’ve always believed in the transformative power of lifting others up. Let’s dive into why this virtue not only enhances team dynamics but is essential for thriving amidst chaos.

Cultivating a Culture of Trust and Autonomy

First off, empowering others is all about fostering a culture where trust and autonomy are paramount. I remember reading a study by Gallup, indicating that companies with highly empowered employees see a 50% higher customer loyalty. This isn’t surprising, given that when team members feel trusted, they’re more likely to take ownership of their roles and go the extra mile.

Sharing Success and Encouraging Growth

Empowerment isn’t just delegation; it’s about sharing success and nurturing growth. Reflecting on my own experiences, the leaders who impacted me the most were those who celebrated our achievements as a team and pushed us towards personal development. By acknowledging individual efforts, leaders can create an environment where every win feels collective, driving motivation and innovation.

Leading by Example: The Story of a Mentor

One story that embodies this virtue perfectly involves a mentor of mine who, despite being at the pinnacle of his career, always made time to guide and uplift his team. His mantra was simple yet profound: “Your success is my success.” This approach not only empowered us but also instilled a deep sense of loyalty and drive to excel, showcasing the ripple effect of exemplary leadership.

The Ripple Effect of Empowering Leadership

Empowering leadership fosters a cycle of continuous improvement and resilience. This aligns perfectly with what we’ve discussed about resilience and grit; empowering others essentially equips them to face challenges head-on, transforming obstacles into stepping stones for growth.

By investing in people and recognizing their potential, leaders can catalyze a transformative shift within their organization, creating a legacy of empowerment that resonates through times of disruption. This virtue is a testament to the belief that when we lift others, we collectively rise to new heights, navigating the tumultuous waters of change with unwavering confidence and unity.

Virtue 8: Continuous Learning and Growth

The Power of Being a Lifelong Learner. I’ve always believed that learning doesn’t stop once you’re handed your diploma or land your first job. In the ever-evolving landscape of today’s world, constant adaptation is key. Tom Ziglar hit the nail on the head when he emphasized continuous learning and growth as a pivotal leadership virtue in disruptive times.

I remember reading a quote that said, “The only constant in life is change,” and it’s never been more accurate than in the business world. According to a recent study by Deloitte, 83% of executives consider re-skilling the workforce critical to business success, yet only 16% have made it a reality. This statistic speaks volumes about the gap between awareness and action.

Let’s Talk About Personal Growth. I’ve found that personal stories often resonate more than abstract concepts, so here’s a bit of my journey. I attended a seminar last year that fundamentally changed my perspective on growth. A keynote speaker shared, “If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.” It struck a chord with me and reinforced the idea that seeking environments and relationships that challenge us is crucial for growth.

I’ve made it a point to read at least one book related to my field every month, and guess what? The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. This humble acknowledgment of our own ignorance is what drives the thirst for knowledge. I also started attending workshops and networking events more frequently, which has exponentially broadened my horizon.

Ziglar’s guidance on embracing continuous learning as a leadership virtue isn’t just theoretical; it’s practical and profoundly impactful. By cultivating a culture where curiosity is encouraged and knowledge is shared openly, we not only set ourselves up for success but also inspire those around us to follow suit. Remember, empowerment, as mentioned earlier, and learning go hand in hand in creating resilient and innovative teams.

In sum, fostering an environment that prizes continuous learning and growth is not just beneficial; it’s essential in navigating through disruptive times. It’s about creating a mindset that views challenges as opportunities to learn and evolve, rather than obstacles to fear.

Virtue 9: Accountability and Responsibility

In the whirlwind of leading through disruptive times, Accountability and Responsibility stand as the twin beacons guiding the way. As Tom Ziglar brilliantly lays out, these virtues aren’t just about answering for the outcomes but, more profoundly, understanding the power of owning our actions and their impact. It’s the essence of leadership integrity.

Back when I launched my first business, mistakes were my daily bread—and believe me, I baked plenty. But here’s the twist: in embracing each error with an accountable mindset, I uncovered growth avenues I never knew existed. It taught me a critical lesson: Mistakes aren’t setbacks; they’re stepping stones, revealing paths to innovation and improvement.

Yet, this isn’t just a solo journey. A Harvard Business Review study underscores how leaders fostering an accountable culture can see up to 27% higher profits and 50% greater productivity. So, how do you embed this into your leadership DNA? It starts with clearly defined roles and expectations, continuous feedback loops, and fostering an environment where everyone feels safe to express their ideas and concerns.

Imagine a team where everyone knows what they’re responsible for and trusts each other to deliver. It’s not a pipe dream. In my consulting years, I’ve witnessed teams transform under leaders who practiced what they preached about accountability. They transitioned from fragmented groups to cohesive units, ready to tackle challenges head-on.

Let’s not forget, accountability is a two-way street. As much as we hold others accountable, we must also stand in the mirror and ask, “Am I leading by example?” I’ve found that accountability, tethered with empathy, breaks down barriers and fosters a culture where blame games are replaced with collaborative problem-solving.

In essence, the path of Accountability and Responsibility is about weaving these virtues into the fabric of our teams. It’s about creating a leadership narrative where each person feels empowered to rise, learn, and pivot without fear, setting the stage for a culture that thrives amidst disruption.

Virtue 10: Servant Leadership

As we dive into the final virtue from Tom Ziglar’s impactful guide, Servant Leadership stands out as the cornerstone of effective leadership in times of disruption. Servant leadership flips the traditional power hierarchy, emphasizing the growth and well-being of the team and the communities they serve. It’s not just a leadership style; it’s a philosophy that I’ve passionately embraced in my journey.

Empowering Teams with Trust and Respect speaks volumes in the realm of servant leadership. I remember a project where trusting my team’s expertise and judgment led to innovative solutions that I hadn’t even considered. It’s a testimony to the fact that when leaders serve rather than command, they unlock unparalleled creativity and commitment.

Creating a Culture of Ownership is crucial. As mentioned, accountability fosters a sense of ownership, but it’s servant leadership that plants this seed. By demonstrating a genuine investment in my team’s success and development, I’ve witnessed a remarkable shift in their approach to challenges and responsibilities. They’re not just working for a paycheck; they’re invested in the mutual growth of everyone involved.

In the context of disruption, adopting Strategies for Navigating Change with Empathy is vital. An example that comes to mind is when we faced a major shift in our business model. By prioritizing our team’s concerns and suggestions, we navigated the change not just with resilience but also with a renewed sense of purpose.

Tom Ziglar’s emphasis on servant leadership is more than just a virtue; it’s a transformative force. Through my experiences, I’ve seen firsthand the power of serving first. It builds a culture where everyone feels valued and, in turn, commits to the common goal with vigor and enthusiasm.

In the ever-evolving landscape of leadership, it’s clear that the path to sustainable success is paved with the principles of servant leadership. It’s about putting others first, and I’ll continue to champion this approach in every team I lead.


Diving into “10 Leadership Virtues for Disruptive Times” by Tom Ziglar really opened my eyes to the power of servant leadership. It’s not just about being at the top; it’s about lifting everyone else up with you. I’ve seen firsthand how trust and respect can spark creativity and commitment in a team. And let’s not forget the importance of empathy during change. It’s all about listening and adapting, not just dictating. This book has shown me that leading with a servant’s heart isn’t just nice to have—it’s essential for sustainable success. I’m definitely taking these lessons to heart and I can’t wait to apply them in my own leadership journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Servant Leadership?

Servant Leadership is a leadership philosophy where the main goal of the leader is to serve. It flips the traditional power hierarchy to focus on the growth and well-being of team members and the community.

How does Servant Leadership benefit teams during disruptive times?

During disruptive times, Servant Leadership fosters empowerment by entrusting teams with trust and respect. This approach unlocks team creativity and commitment, leading to innovative solutions and a culture of ownership that navigates change with empathy.

What strategies are highlighted for navigating change with empathy?

The article highlights strategies like prioritizing team concerns and suggestions, fostering open communication, and creating a supportive environment. These strategies are crucial for navigating change with empathy, supporting mutual growth and accountability.

How does Servant Leadership foster a culture of ownership?

By empowering teams and focusing on their growth and well-being, Servant Leadership fosters a sense of ownership among team members. This culture of ownership encourages accountability, mutual growth, and a commitment to common goals.

What is the transformative impact of Servant Leadership?

The transformative impact of Servant Leadership lies in promoting a culture where everyone feels valued, respected, and committed to common goals. It leads to sustainable success by focusing on the long-term well-being of the team and community.

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