What is Innovative Leadership and What Skills Do You Need?

Nowadays, innovative leadership has been a trait in great demand by companies, due to its creative aspect and its ability to respond to challenging and uncertain scenarios.

This blog will dig deeper into innovative leadership, explaining what a leader needs to have in order to be considered innovative and what his or her expected functions are.

What is an Innovative Leader?

Innovative leadership, above all, needs to be focused on implementing different processes that are capable of adapting to dubious and unconventional scenarios. An innovative leader presents modern solutions with regard to people management, seeking to strengthen team spirit and unity among members.

As mentioned at the beginning, this ability is extremely valued by institutions that find themselves in risky situations at all times, and hiring an innovative leader turns out to be the best solution to their problems.

Innovative leadership brings with it another interesting point, which is the willingness to adopt approaches and concepts different from traditional ones. Usually, this doesn’t happen with elder leadership who sometimes prefer to put into practice older, outdated strategies.

What Are the Main Characteristics of an Innovative Leader?

First of all, innovative leadership needs to be something cultivated and worked on over time, taking into account its progressive and transformative character. However, there are some qualities that the innovative leader cannot do without, which we will mention below:

Knowledge of Oneself

In short, it is fundamental that the innovative leader knows exactly his strengths and weaknesses. In this way, it is easier to understand what can be improved during his or her management and what can be maintained.

Strategic Vision

It is up to an innovative leader to evaluate the ideas that are presented to him/her and turn them into reality. However, it is necessary that this analysis be done with a strategic eye and approach, in order to determine the project’s viability and the best way to develop it.

Values Aligned with the Company’s Culture

First of all, the ethical and moral values of the innovative leader need to be in accordance with the company’s culture, serving as a guide for all members of their team. Thus, they can better manage the behavior of each employee and mitigate crisis situations when they arise.

Challenging Experiences

The inherent quality of the innovative leader is related to his ability to think of new ideas and suggestions for certain problems. It also needs to be passed by his team, forcing them to get out of the box and try new ways.

A team committed to innovation and willing to step outside the conventional way whenever necessary can notice a much greater increase in productivity and results.

Imagination and Communication

The creative leader, mandatorily, needs to be able to communicate well and have a preponderant imagination. Above all, innovative leadership does not tolerate micro-managers, but people capable of analyzing the whole picture in order to come up with a solution.

In this context, David Laloum – former CEO of Young & Rubicam – attests that innovative management with disruptive ideas avoids micromanagement, which in turn gives more autonomy to the sectors without having to observe the work of each employee.

Finally, the innovative manager needs to pass on credibility and enthusiasm when transmitting his or her ideas, infecting the people involved in the projects and keeping them motivated until completion.

What Can You Do to Develop Innovative Leadership?

Instigate Creative Thinking

The first tip is to always be aware of the opportunities that arise, especially those that need a different solution from what is already being done. Therefore, it is your job to see the answer where most employees only see problems.

Take More Risks

Beforehand, it is important that you understand that innovative leadership consists of brainstorming for ideas that challenge the usual beliefs and assumptions brought by your employees. So it’s up to you, as an innovative leader, to filter these insights and encourage your team to go down a different path, trying new alternatives without being afraid to take risks or be judged.

Empathy for the End Customer

Try to understand your customer’s main pain point or challenge and how the product or service offered by your company can solve tat problem. In other words, it is essential that the innovative leader is able to gather as much information as possible about his/her customer’s difficulties, thus contributing to more assertive decisions afterward.

Think Proactively

Always keep up to date with market trends, after all, only in this way will it be possible to propose the adoption of tools that open space for new ideas. Being aware of new trends is an important attribute of innovative leadership, as well as interpreting the changes in your industry, which can turn into opportunities in the future.

Encourage People Around You to be Creative

It is quite common to see people unable to come up with new ideas. In many companies, this problem is addressed with more relaxed meetings, brainstorming, and even mind-mapping. However, it is the innovative leader’s responsibility to encourage his team to be more creative and to come up with new ideas.

This creative mindset needs to be extended outside the office, to the employees’ social lives. In this way, transforming the work environment into a more relaxed place, and praising the people around you for each suggestion they make, are essential in this sense.

Be an innovative leader. Involve your whole team in the search for new ideas.

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