Why Do Leaders Need To Be Innovative?

One of the things about a great leader is that he/she encourages everyone to bring something to the table. Being a leader is not just a title that makes people follow and respect you. It is more than that, it is something that needs working upon, it is also about being innovative as a leader yourself and creating an environment where innovative ideas from your subordinates can foster. Effective communication, integrity, and influence are all wonderful qualities of a leader but putting your people ahead of yourself and making that transition from valuing yourself to valuing your people is something that makes you stand out as a leader. “Leading innovation is not about getting people to follow you to the future; it is about getting people to co-create it with you.”- Linda. A Hill, Harvard Bussiness School.

Have you ever noticed why some organizations are continually evolving and bringing innovations while others remain static, monotonous and lack innovation? The answer to that boils down to how leadership is a critical part of the canvas. Innovation to leadership is like sunlight for plants, necessary for their growth. Innovators are creative thinkers. Innovative leaders make for creative visionaries. On one hand, they themselves are inventive, imaginative, experimental and have great ideas, on the other hand, they have the knack and intuition for recognizing a potentially great idea from a team member and then they pave a path to turn that idea into reality. “Innovative leaders are creative visionaries who have big ideas and, most importantly, can motivate people around them to turn those ideas into reality,” says Geoffrey Baumgartner in What is Innovative Leadership?.

Innovation is the key differentiator between an innovative leader and a micro-manager. Being an innovative leader is all about focusing on the big picture while working with your creative team who would keep on adding colors to that ultimate idea transforming it into success and reality. Micromanaging is like telling your workers to stay in the lane and not thinking out of the box, which means killing your team’s creativity and making them lose their spark.

Pete Cashmore of Mashable has built a successful company by realizing how far one can go innovation and initiation of the ideas. Who doesn’t know about Mark Zuckerburg? He prioritizes passion over skills when it comes to hiring. He has created a work environment where employees are encouraged to pursue projects they are passionate about. These innovative minds have left their mark and proved how necessary it is for a leader to carry innovation hand in hand with all the other attributes of leadership needed to sail the ship.

Innovation pushes your boundaries to new levels. It advances the world. Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”  Innovation to leadership is as oxygen for the living. To lead a business or a company to move forward and thrive, innovation in all its forms is critical.