Being an innovative leader is the art of combining different leadership styles so as to influence co-workers to produce creative ideas, products and or services. This is one of the most important skills entrepreneurs should equip themselves with so as to build innovative organizations that are customer centered and pace setters in different industrial sectors. It however comes with a number of qualities which this article is going to unfold.
Be a Visionary
It all starts with a long-term vision broken down to small goals in being an innovative leader. Your role as the leader will be to set and communicate the organization’s vision to the rest of the team, make them own the vision and drive it till you succeed as a team. You may face challenges as the leader to communicate the organization’s vision, but regularly explaining the vision, elaborating what it takes to get there and what it means for the organization and the rest of the team will make it easier for you.
Driving an innovative team requires a great passion to serve your team. You should be so obsessed with your team’s ideas, ready to listen to them, question them and always find ways to improve their ideas. Your team should be greatly driven by your passion to serve both them and the customer.
Focus on the Customer
Relating to the customer is one of the greatest ingredient to innovation. Once you find yourselves as an organization asking on how you can continuously improve your product or service for the benefit of the customer, then you are in the right direction towards innovation. I fell in love with the “empty chair” concept practiced by Amazon.com in their board meetings. They always leave an empty chair and that empty chair represents the customer. Also have time to read the customers’ feedback.
Lead by Example
In your road to being an innovative leader, you should continuously inspire those around you and lead by example. If you believe in hard work, then be the pace setter, the same goes with creativity, professionalism and any other values which you think your team should uphold to. If they is a certain culture you want to instill in the Organization, make sure you perfectly practice it.
Build a Great Team
If your priority is to build an innovative organization then invest in the right team. For entrepreneurs it takes time for them to source talent, but when the right time comes, employ those who are eager to change the world. Once you build a great team, let each player do what he is best in. all you have to do as a leader is to create an environment that promotes creativity and a structure that curbs bureaucracy. Listen to your team, consider their ideas and give a guided conclusion. Moreover, I always believe that the right implementer of an idea, is the man behind it, hence some of the times you should be willing to let go some of your powers for things to work for the organization.
Reward and Reorganize
They will comes time to reward and reorganize your team after certain milestones. Reward comes as a token of appreciation to your team and it motivates them to improve. In an organization, they should come time to review each player, promote key players and probably fire those who didn’t perform to satisfaction. It is what it is…
Embrace Failure and Learn From it
As a team, you won’t win all times, they is also time for failure. One of the innovative leader of this time, Elon Musk had this to say, “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough.” So as an innovative leader you must master the art of embracing failure. It is of great importance to note that failure comes with lessons, and those are the ones we should learn from.