What Leadership Practices Deliver Innovation?
Being creative and thinking creatively lead to innovation in products, services and processes that run within an organisation.
So what leadership qualities stimulate and enhance innovation?
- Be a transformational leader: fostering innovation is central to the issue of being a manager that transforms the workplace. This is all about generating an atmosphere and environment of change and growth where the manager jump-starts innovation by asking questions about the why/what/when/how of processes and outputs.
- Continually chasing innovation: leaders continually stay alert to the possibilities of innovation because the pace of technological development very quickly strips an organisation of its commercial and competitive advantages.
- Take risks and encourage others to do so: “No risk, no reward” is a common business mantra. Even in a slow-growth phase of company development small improvements will not generate extra cash and advantage. What is needed is a bolder approach where there is a gamble around intelligent, shrewd and selective developments even during periods of high risk and instability.
- Promote an emphasise collaboration between employees: most big innovations are the result of collaboration amongst teams of staff working together with effective communication and sharing of ideas and developments. Choosing the right leader to ring this all together is crucial along with top-performers in each relevant discipline. To make this really work all parties need to work together smoothly and consistently for a quality outcome.
- Avoid innovation for its own sake: many organisations will innovate a product which looks good, is a new way of working BUT has very limited wider appeal in commercial terms. For a good return on innovation it has to have a positive impact upon sales and profits.
- Leadership style and approach: leaders should have a loose approach to allowing room for innovation to surface yet have a tight approach to the final decision regarding which potential innovations should go forward for further development.
- Link together Development and Production: many innovations fail because this link is missing or is under-developed. Here good communication and shared input of ideas flushes out successful product or service developments.
- Making a success out of your failure: many innovations have flopped but in the design and initial trialling come new ideas and approaches that can work. Setbacks need to be reviewed, analysed and the key developmental points identified as a result of this.
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