Exceptional leaders are often known to be distinct in their thoughts and deeds thus challenging the system in which they find themselves in. This they do, not for pleasure, but because they realize a need to add to what has been laid down or rip apart what they consider to be dysfunctional.

Every leader that has ever wanted to create and achieve greatness has had to challenge the status quo. Challenging the status quo takes an open mind, open heart and open will. 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. And lastly, to have an open mind, you need to be constantly learning and growing. No one who derives bliss in the comfort of his shells can challenge the system. People who challenge the system are outspoken, they test the proven, speak up about the unspoken and as well challenge the unchallenged.

For you to be a great leader, to move from mediocrity to a tangible level of awesomeness and greatness, you have to venture out. To create something meaningful, what you create has to be of tangible significance, different and of value. And to build something substantial, you have to maintain a strong stand on what you are advocating for. Nothing terrific has ever been achieved by doing things the way others do things.

Nothing great is ever achieved easily and instantaneously, it is difficult and takes time. Series of practical and pragmatic decisions leads to success in the long run. To achieve success, you have to be bold, courageous, fearless and brave to stand the storm because the system would always fight back.

Before venturing into challenging the norm, you must first understand what you are going into and ask yourself these:

  • What needs to be amended?
  • What needs to remain and be improved?
  • What outcome do I expect?
  • Who gets to benefit, me or a whole lot of others who the system oppresses?
  • What do we get to learn?

You should understand, when challenging the status quo, you aren’t just challenging the system but yourself by pushing your limits and discovering a whole new side of you. You discover what you can and cannot do. It’s a whole new level of personal voyage of discovery. Taking up a challenge is a personal decision but you should understand it is an obligation to stand up for what is right and challenge what you deem wrong.

As a leader, reflection is vital. After achieving your aim of challenging the status quo, you need to ask yourself these:

  • What have I learned?
  • What could I have done better?
  • Is it really worth it?
  • Are people on board with the new change?

The answers you derive from these questions you ask yourself determines if truly what you fought for was a success of still a work in progress. It makes you aware if what you are fighting for or the results you have gotten so far needs more modifications for improved results.

Great leaders like Mandela, Gandhi, Harriett Tubman, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Kwame Nkrumah and a whole lot of other African independence movement leaders are exceptional leaders who challenged the status quo. Think big and wide and do not wait till you get to top political posts before you can create change. Start from where you are and change things in your locality before aiming too high.

The Bridge Leadership Foundation encourages positive change, a deviation from the status quo and an arrival at something new, creative, innovative, better and beneficial. We charge you to take the world by its helm and make it a better place for everyone who lives in it.


The Bridge Leadership Foundation is a non-profit leadership and capacity development Foundation established in 2011 committed to raising generations of transformational leaders.

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