Every entrepreneur or manager has a mental image about how they’d like their workforce to look but, in many cases, they’ll expect duplicates of themselves which isn’t always good for an organisational culture. As we discussed before, diversity is a key weapon in a company’s armoury – it leads to better business performance and also promotes an inclusive environment.
Innovation is a prime area of focus for many businesses today. So, if the vision for the staff body is that they all work innovatively, that’s great. Having goals is fundamental, but so is having the skills to hit the back of the net. Just because the boss may be innovative doesn’t mean staff will automatically become creatively-minded. Similarly, if managers aren’t innovative, then they definitely shouldn’t expect staff to think inventively.
The first step in this instance is considering why you want innovation and what it looks like to you. It’s easy to buy into innovation itself because it’s such an omnipresent buzzword but you should know what you want from its implementation. Is that the use of new software to help improve business processes? Is it workers using more out-of-the box thinking? Whatever it may be, focusing on leadership development will be your starting point.
How the team leader thinks and operates will play a big role in building an innovative team. On top of your personal desires, what does innovation mean to your business overall? If the answer is not much, then you’ll need to look at changing organisational culture and that’s a top-down process, which isn’t always straightforward, but the reward will certainly be worthwhile.
Communication in this instance is what’s required to get going. As a leader, you must outline to yourself precisely what you want from the team and then translate that to them. Remember, the staff aren’t mind readers. The crucial thing following this is to lead by example. An old saying it may be but, the head of the team must ensure they practise what they preach in order to demonstrate how they would like specific tasks to be handled.
PwC’s 2018 study on preparing for tomorrow’s workforce surveyed business and HR leaders globally and, unsurprisingly, innovation was raised. 79% of respondents placed a collaborative environment as either highly important or important, agreeing “our working environments are designed to encourage teamwork, collaboration and innovation.” Seemingly you can’t have one without the other – to foster innovation means is to foster teamwork and collaboration.
Elsewhere, the report also detailed that in terms of innovation specifically, 76% claimed “we have avenues present for employees to offer innovative ideas and support them in turning these ideas into action.”
As a leader, you’re in the driving seat to encourage effective teamwork, but a roadmap is needed, so tell your passengers where you’re all heading – or, even better, ask them if they feel like there’s any other routes that should be taken on the way. Ensure they’re not sitting in silence for the journey and in doing so, the results will speak for themselves as innovative ideas will come.
At CharacterScope we’ve seen how powerful open dialogue is. And as our users have understood themselves and their leadership styles better, they’ve better communicated with their teams, who’ve better taken hold of their duties. By empowering yourself through continuous learning and leadership development, you can in turn empower your team as they learn from you.
One way of looking at it as an intrapreneur. This phrase refers to a manager who thinks like an entrepreneur – like a builder. As PwC found, “people increasingly want to feel that their contributions count.” Developing an innovative team, encouraging them to also think like intrapreneurs, can only be a positive thing that will work towards your goals.