How to Become a More Innovative Leader

Richard Trogman on becoming a more innovative leader.

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A piece of wisdom that was once quoted so much that it turned into a cliche told people that if they kept doing the same things over and over, then they would keep getting the same results over and over. In many situations, it might just be true. Organizational leadership is not one of them. The modern economy changes a lot, and it also does so quite frequently. Sticking with what you’ve always done before will leave you falling behind, meaning, you should focus on becoming more innovative as a leader.

The first thing you need to do is put the idea of best practices out of your mind. The concept was attractive for a while because it meant your company would do the things the best in the industry were already doing. However, now it just means you’re copying others. By the time you adopt best practices, they might already be out of date. Be willing to risk failure and experiment to see what works best for your organization. When you find anything novel and successful, spread communication about it as far and wide as you can as quickly as you can.

Engender trust among your team so you can commit to faster decision-making. Rather than try and build up a group consensus that gets everyone on board with a decision before it is implemented, innovative leaders are able to make fast choices. They do so knowing that some group members might disagree, but those group members feel safe speaking up and still enforce or abide by decisions because of trust and loyalty among the team.

Innovative leaders have to also be willing to get out of the way of success when it happens within their team even if they weren’t the instigators of it. For that matter, they must also be tolerant of failure. Experimentation and innovation aren’t always going to work out, and some ideas or efforts simply aren’t going to pan out. Fly or fail, employees must still be recognized for their efforts and value at all times.

Another piece of wisdom that may become cliche soon enough is how change is the only real constant. Innovative leaders know this but also embrace it. Uses these steps to become an innovative leader if you are not one already.

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