Innovation and Leadership are certainly two concepts closely related in our minds, but is the leader expected to innovate or she supposed to create innovation environments?
Innovation requires a group of people working collaboratively in a space where trust and fluent communication allow to create value and solutions to improve our day to day.
The higher the leader’s position, the bigger is her capability to create innovative environments and cultures. For a leader, it is more important to use this capability than innovating herself. These two things may look similar, but they are not, although we may agree that creating innovative environments is a certain sort of innovation.
What is the leader supposed to do to create an innovation culture?
Creating innovation cultures means creating favorable conditions to connect ideas, technologies or businesses that nobody had linked before, but above all to favor people’s connections.
- To manage innovation is to create environments where people and ideas can connect.
- To innovate is to manage the environment of attention and conversations, empowering connectors of ideas and stories that favoring people´s development and abilities to learn.
This requires leadership behaviors that allow transforming the organization, in the form of disruptive innovation as well as in continuous improvement.
What is the leader supposed to do in her day to day to make this happen?
- Be proactive. Frame the work, the values and sense of purpose to guide the people giving them autonomy to change and innovate.
- Motivate the team, giving them clear objectives and expectations, in line with the potential of each employee.
- Promote/Develop. Promote the continuous development of the work environment and help the collaborators to become better professionals through feedback giving and taking to improve the self-learning and work environment.
- Empower people to go beyond what is expected from them reinventing themselves to take on the challenges. Leaders develop new leaders.
- Connect. Leaders create environments that foster collaboration as an engine of an innovation culture.
- Manage emotions. The most favorable environment for innovation is comfortable, transparent and free to innovate
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