Innovative Leadership; Why Does Every Organization Need It?
(Newscko) ─ Innovative leaders are visionaries who foster the culture of innovation. They are not experts or have years of experience in creating innovative products. Instead, they are just leaders who motivate people to dream and ideate — no matter how big or small. And then facilitate chasing it.
To dig deep, we must understand the fundamentals of Innovative Leadership Theory.
Firstly, innovation means to create something new and better—
- New: to invent
- Better: to iterate
Secondly, leadership means motivating people to achieve a common goal.
Hence, an innovative leader motivates others to achieve something new or better.
Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Bill Gates are the most popular innovative leaders — this world has ever seen. But, these leaders didn’t innovate products on their own. Instead, they focused more on envisioning ideas and turning them into reality.
In this article, we will understand the style and characteristics of innovative leaders. You will understand:
- What is an innovative leadership style?
- What are the characteristics of innovative leadership?
- Why is innovative leadership important?
- What is the essential part of innovation leadership?
What is an innovative leadership style?
An innovation leadership style encourages everyone to come up with ideas. Ideas that are big or small. Further, it shows commitment and provides the opportunity to develop those ideas.
An essential part of this style is — it cultivates the culture of thinking differently. And, then, it nourishes such creative thoughts to execute actual tasks. Thus, eventually leading to new and better outcomes.
Also, an innovative style emphasizes taking small steps forward. Instead of a gigantic leap towards change, this style anchors on continuous improvements. Thus, helps people build confidence and competence to develop the habit of innovation.
What are the characteristics of innovative leadership?
Several independent studies suggest that innovative leadership has few unique traits. These innovative leadership characteristics are illustrated below:
1. enVisioning the big picture
Leaders with innovative styles can see the bigger picture. Their ability to communicate the vision to team members makes them unique. Innovation leaders invest their time and effort to motivate and inspire. But not focus on micro-level tasks or activities.
2. Strategic Alignment
Innovative leaders are experts in the holistic development of an organization. As they can think Outside-in and Inside-out simultaneously. Also, innovative leaders help in realizing the organization’s strategic objectives. They believe in insight-driven decisions to lead members to become imaginative and visionary.
Innovative leaders are adept at engaging with employees at ground level. This is primarily to develop thought leadership at a deeper level of an organization. They have a laser-focussed approach towards creating the relationship with people. As a result, people feel valued and go miles beyond what is expected from them.
4. Embrace Risk
Innovate leaders are firm believers of “High Risk, High Gain.” They think outside the box and never shy about questioning the status quo. They love trying new things and expect the same from others.
The ability to empathize with employees and peers is an essential skill for any leader. Specifically, an innovative leader must empathize with all stakeholders of a business. These stakeholders can be internal or external—customers, employees, partners, and more. Innovation leaders always look for disconnects between products and needs. Also, between the organization’s purpose and the consumer’s expectation.
Why is innovative leadership important?
In this digital era, businesses are constantly facing challenges. A few driving factors are disruptive business models, pandemics, and consumers’ evolving expectations. Organizations are finding ways to innovate and transform to respond to these challenges. And, leaders play a vital role in creating an environment supporting creativity. Also, in times of uncertainty, the innovative leader helps navigate the organization. They probe, lead with questions and motivate others to find creative answers. They rely on fail fast and fail early and learn from the failures for better results.
What is the essential part of innovation leadership?
Innovation is not just inventing new creations. Instead, it is about figuring out how to add value to an organization. Innovation leadership must facilitate an environment for creative freedom and imagination. They must focus on ways to achieve objectives rather than defining them. Also, it is equally important to realize the need for an innovative leader in a team. Businesses must understand the criticality of such a role in driving innovation.
Difference between Innovative Leadership and leadership for innovation
It is necessary to differentiate between innovative leadership and leadership for innovation. While the former is more towards fostering innovation, the latter leads innovation. Any leader can undertake the former role —be it Sr Manager or the CEO. But, leadership for innovation is only served by a specialized role. We call it Chief Innovation Officer.