The Importance Of Innovation In Leadership

Welcoming innovation and creating an overall innovation culture at work is not easy but necessary.

Most company cultures have very limiting unwritten rules when it comes to innovation. For the most part, innovators in corporate culture are seen as irresponsible, unmindful, nonconformist and disruptive. For instance, some organizations will not hesitate to shut down dissident voices and to punish rules breakers.

Furthermore, the longer you have been in a leadership position, the more you become complacent, the more you get stuck in your ways, the more you start believing in erroneous paradigms, the less you are willing to take risks, to change your processes and to innovate.

Wondering how to avoid complacency and to enable the innovation process?

Innovation Leadership

What is innovation?

Innovation is a natural or acquired process that is present as a core value in most organization and that can make all the difference. It is the ability to deliver new positive data, value, concepts and systems. Somewhat, innovation implies creativity but not the other way around.

Furthermore, innovation is a mindset but not everyone is able to trigger innovation. Innovative leaders are capable of:

  • Self-awareness and of assessing situations.
  • Creativity and of generating new opportunities for themselves.
  • Identifying issues, understanding them and exploring different perspectives.
  • Finding long-term solutions to problem and making strategic decisions.
  • Having a vision, short and long-term goals.
  • Performing at a higher level, effectively restructuring organization, implementing a vision and appropriately using their resources.
  • Communicating effectively.
  • Adapting to different circumstances, taking action despite the circumstances and reinventing themselves.
  • Taking charge of their behavior and their emotions.
  • Adequately handling failure and success.

Why innovate?

Leaders feel pressure to adapt to the market, to create new products, to maintain a stable work environment, stable results and still welcome innovation. Jump starting the innovation process within your organization will help you and your organization:

  • Stay relevant.
  • Gain a competitive advantage.
  • Remember that what worked in the past, will not necessarily work right now.
  • Demonstrates your effectiveness, adaptability, capacity to handle issues and to overcome challenges.
  • Pay close attention to the customers.

How to trigger and maintain an innovation culture?

Every organization has their own culture and every leader has their own norms. So, in order to avoid complacency and to trigger an innovative spirit:

  1. Live a healthy Work-Life Balance.
  2. Identify new ideas to integrate into your leadership style
  3. Keep an open mind, focus on the positive, give yourself the time and the opportunity to explore, always ask questions and always be open to learn. Pursue truth and knowledge.
  4. Challenge your own knowledge, your assumptions and your preconceived notions.
  5. Avoid using your life and work experiences to drive innovationQuestion and learn from everything: read, observe and explore more than usual. You can even look at other innovative ideas and see if they fir your situation.
  6. Get out of your comfort zonechallenge conventional wisdom and the status quo.
  7. Create a personal mission statement that measure your progress, that helps you follow through on your commitments and that incorporates your willingness to innovate.
  8. Rephrase a same issue multiple times to gain more clarification.
  9. Don’t hesitate to break societal rules to get where you want to go.
  10. Demonstrate that innovation is necessary. Incorporate it in your core values and in your actions.
  11. Listen to different ideas and appreciate other people point of views, especially if they are not related to the issue. However, this doesn’t mean that you will need to apply their point of view.
  12. Be confident in your vision and embrace change.
  13. Write down every idea that comes to you even if you don’t have the opportunity to use them.
  14. Learn to take calculated risks, to handle failure as well as success, to plan for the unknown and for failures, to celebrate success. Failure and success can inhibit your ability to innovate because you are constantly thinking of chat could go wrong. It is therefore important to see failure as an opportunity to grow and to get closer to success.
  15. Analyze the time and the cost needed to implement your innovative idea.
  16. Identify the passionate people and change agents on your team. Besides, expecting people to be passionate, demonstrate your own passion and convey it to your team.
  17. Identify the people who are blocking your ideas in the organizationIt would be wise to share your vision with them and try to convince them.
  18. Ask for constant feedback and give feedback yourself.
  19. Empower your team at all levels, trust them, allow them to speak their minds, to find different alternatives to a problem and help them achieve their goals.
  20. Encourage dissenting voices who can challenge in new ideas and analyze their every aspect, who can identify areas in the organization that need optimization.
  21. Welcome brainstorming activities and filter out ideas with potential.
  22. Set deadlines to build pressure and to get more out of your team.
  23. Train your employees to hone their skills, to appreciate change and set high expectations for them.
  24. Avoid criticizing your team when they come up with new ideas and avoid shifting blame when something goes wrong.
  25. Remove your ego and potentially collaborate with your competitor.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.

Advertisements

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni defines the five dysfunctions of a team to avoid in order to be successful. He teaches us how to build a team as a leader and how to effectively be part of one.

What is a team?

For Lencioni, a team is a “relatively small number of people (anywhere from three to twelve) that shares common goals as well as the rewards and responsibilities for achieving them. Team members readily set aside their individual or personal needs for the greater good of the group.”

Why build a team?

Patrick Lencioni believes in team work and that it is the ultimate competitive advantage in a company. Effective team work being easy to attain but hard to measure, he judges effective team work by measuring its performance, its results, by its capacity to overcome obstacles and the five dysfunctions model (seen below).

Five dysfunctions of a team Patrick Lencioni.

Overcoming Dysfunction #1

Trust is an uncommon trait in life, is the most important factor in team survivals, is rare and is generally hard to instill. Being a trustful and trustworthy designates a person unafraid to be open, candid, transparent, willing to expose their weaknesses, and admit their failures.

Because of human preservation instincts, because people wear masks to protect themselves and their true feelings, being vulnerable is uncommon and unnatural. People don’t find rewarding to take such risks, to put themselves in harm’s way for other people, for an organization.

Furthermore, lack of trust is a destroyer of team work, multiplies hypocrisy, causes the team to watch their every move, monitor their every word. To overcome this dysfunction, Lencioni suggests that:

  • Building trust takes time but is not impossible.
  • Team members take various personality assessment tests, like the Myers Briggs test, before sharing their story.
  • Team members open up so that everyone can judge them fairer, understand the person that they are today, not expecting that they reveal their darkest secrets or that they get emotional.
  • Leaders create a safe space for their team to speak. Team members generally look to their leaders to show them how to build trust. Leaders have to first put themselves out there without knowing that their behavior will be reciprocated, respected or rewarded.
  • Maintain the bounding experience and pursue the relationships built.

Overcoming Dysfunction #2

In addition to overcoming trust issues, teams must learn to handle conflicts. Conflicts don’t necessarily have to be feuds, quarrels or arguments. Conflicts can also be healthy debates that lead the team to a solution, discussions where people are listening and seriously considering other people points of view. Needless to say, without trust, the debate will easily become a contest.

Conflict is inevitable but must not be avoided. It is either constructive or destructive, and anywhere along that spectrum. It has the benefit to push people out of their emotional comfort zone.

To overcome dysfunction #2, Lencioni proposes to:

  • Assess each and everyone conflict profile before hand. Indeed, everybody handles conflict differently. Therefore, it is essential that everybody knows the way they react and interact during conflict, in order to adjust their behavior in the future.
  • Establish a conflict norm for the team. Conflict norming requires laying down rules of engagement, depicting how to team members should engage with one another, and which behaviors are acceptable.
  • The leader that sets the tone by applying the rules, adapting them to the team members and holding them accountable to the rules.
  • The leader has to moderate conflict, especially in meetings, push the quiet ones out of their comfort zone and temper the aggressive ones. Lack of conflict leads to boring meetings, bad decisions, lack of clarity.

Overcoming Dysfunction #3

A lack of commitment is the third dysfunction to be overcome by teams. Commitment lies in fact that the team buys in a decision whether or not they agree with it. To create clarity and alignment, to avoid assumptions:

  • Leaders must extract every unapologetic ideas from their team. Knowing that all aspects of a situation have been studied, that all opinions have been expressed and considered, team members are more likely to commit to the leader’s decision.
  • Leaders must share their principles, missions, values, goals, purpose and their behavioral expectations, generate consistent business policies.

Overcoming Dysfunction #4

All members of the team, including the team leader, must remain accountable for their actions. They must remind each other of their respectful responsibility, of their behaviors, standards, results and performance. Otherwise, they gradually lose respect for each other, lose morale.

Leaders have to be able to receive critical feedback around their behavior and performance in order to give feedback. To encourage a culture of peer-to-peer accountability, Lencioni suggests that teams must openly:

  • identify the most important behavioral characteristics that contributes to the strength of the team and the ones that weakens it of everyone.
  • know everyone’s area of expertise.
  • in meetings, everyone should verbalize their list of priorities and measure their progress.

Overcoming Dysfunction #5

Self-orientated distractions, individualization are also destroyers of teams. To address this last dysfunction, there is no need to have completely overcome the four previous dysfunctions.

Focusing on collective results implies that team members are not self-interested and not only looking out for number one.

Results are what measure team success and keeps people focused on the priorities. Teams must commit early and openly to their expected results, keep a scoreboard and measure the progress at all times.

Reviews

In Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni shows leaders how to build and optimize their team through practical examples, gradual exercises and valid  assessments such as the Myers Briggs assessment tests.

Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is very insightful and dedicated to toxic environments, to self-disciplined, thoughtful leaders. In order for them to be successful, Lencioni recommends that team members become:

  • More vulnerable with each other, without being touchy-feely or emotional, in order to be successful and to understand each other. It is always difficult to share information about yourself in the workplace because there is always room for manipulation and personal attacks. However, if the exercise succeeds the team is fit to understand the decisions made and actions taken.
  • Masterful at conflicts. This requires that team members assess their strengths and weaknesses, be disciplined enough to control their emotions, be active listeners and seek understanding of others.
  • Committed to the task and to the organization. Creating employee alignment and engagement depends on the leader’s vision and mission statement.
  • Accountable for their actions and behaviors.
  • Focused on results.

Each characteristic can be worked on simultaneously. Of course, the leader has to be the facilitator as well and all expected behaviors have to be modeled on the leader.

After analyzing the 5 different dysfunctions that destroys teams, Lencioni answers additional questions that he received from clients, consultants and executives, replies to the objections of some participants, demonstrates the obstacles to avoid, the ways to convince skeptical leaders, engage uncomfortable people.

At last, Lencioni provides us with tools, questionnaires, team building exercises, road maps, steps to take in order to start and maintain the team building process.

Ratings 4/5

Author

Patrick Lencioni

Purchase

Patrick Lencioni

author

Patrick Lencioni is a speaker, consultant, founder and president of The Table Group. Patrick Lencioni is also the author of Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Are you self-sabotaging at work? 18 Tips to Learn to improve your work performance and climb up the corporate ladder

jonathan-pendleton-61209We all have a dream of outperforming ourselves at work and staying consistent and moving up in our career.

However, we have difficulties bringing our wishes and expectations to life.

Furthermore, in the fast and highly competitive corporate world, some of our attitudes, assumptions, values, flaws often render us completely ineffective, come in the way of us being the best version of ourselves, from learning new skills, from developing our talents.

The reality is that, despite our best intentions, we are often our worst enemies, are unable to improve our career, to achieve our definition of success, to satisfy our higher purpose.

We thereby harbor dissatisfaction, self-defeating thoughts and resort to self-sabotaging actions.

Wondering how to become a better performer, a better contributor, a better leader in the workplace and control the self-sabotaging tendencies?

Most of the time, self-sabotage takes roots from collaborators sometimes abusing substance, striving too hard for materialistic success.

Self-sabotage also stems from an inability to control extreme negative thoughts and emotions such as anger, guilt or resentment, and an inability to control other people. Indeed, in the workplace, low performing employees and leaders tend to either:

  • complain too much about circumstances,
  • not take action or initiative,
  • doubt their capabilities,
  • be addicted to praise,
  • struggle to live up to other people expectations. Not pursuing your true purpose and implementing somebody else dream cause you to subconsciously rebel against your current situation.
  • act impatient,
  • be unable to follow rules or respect authority figure,
  • be unable to handle the pressures of responsibility;
  • misinterpret the image they have of themselves
  • be busy or lack time management skills,
  • lack conflict resolution skills,
  • fear the unknown,
  • fear criticism, looking ridiculous or being embarrassed,
  • fear change,
  • fear success,
  • feel rejected or reject their own being,
  • fear failure. Failures are usually blessings in disguise.

How to improve these bad habits and become an effective member of the workforce?

Becoming a better performer and contributor in the workplace doesn’t end at solely executing your duties and providing acceptable results, it also means working on your character and core values. To enable effective performance in the workplace, it is necessary to:

  1. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and ground them into reality. I cannot stress enough how self-discovery is an important and long life process that allows to:
    • upgrade your moral compass and create new ethical standards,
    • accept our unique distinctions,
    • evaluate your role and contributions at work,
    • assist, be assisted by coworkers or team members with a complementing set of skills.
  2. Understand your interests and abilities. This way you are able to develop your core capabilities, to choose the work that stimulates you the most, the workplace in which you best fit in and the team that complements you the best.
  3. Keep learning, grow your knowledge and your emotional intelligence that you may increase satisfaction at work, to envision greater possibilities, to overcome obstacles and to be successful in every area of your life by:
    • doing something new, something different, challenging your thoughts and your routine,
    • nurturing your natural curiosity about the world, about what you don’t know,
    • breaking routine and mindless actions to stimulate your imagination,
    • tackling your fears and negative emotions head and listing the consequences of your actions.
  4. Adjust your self-image to reality by writing down:
    • the qualities you have about yourself and the ones you want to acquire,
    • your trigger points. Don’t let identifying your trigger points to get discouraged and give up on yourself. Noticing your self-sabotaging habits is actually beneficial to you: you are probably not in the walk of life that you wish or supposed to be in.
  5. Act responsibility, be proactive, take initiative. Take on more responsibility and assignments, perform them with enthusiasm and motivation in order to become confident in your abilities, autonomous, dependable, emotionally mature and trustworthy. Indeed, the more you take on responsibility, the more you learn about yourself, the more you understand the consequences of your actions, the faster you admit your mistakes as soon as you notice them, the better you remain accountable especially when things go wrong, the more you grow, the more you gain competencies, the more you are willing to take initiative and even risks.
  6. Discipline yourself by inspecting and readjusting your thoughts, actions and behaviors to set standards, and dominating your immediate desires and impulses.
  7. Stay true to yourself. Avoid comparing yourself to others and competing with others.
  8. Allow yourself to think. In silence, without looking for distractions, confront yourself, make peace with yourself, strengthen your decision-making skills, observe bad habits, and therefore learn more about yourself, find your true purpose, learn to trust your intuition and inner feelings. Meditation, quiet contemplation, introspection are the key to staying alert, to increase your performance at work, to develop and recognize good ideas, to stay engaged and more conscious of your life.
  9. Define clear goals and seek better methods to become more productive, more competent in the workplace.
  10. Learn to insulate yourself from the noise in the workplace.
  11. Vary your experiences and get out your comfort zone.
  12. Take care of your physical health. Exercise regularly.
  13. Make a good impression, from day one, without overdoing it and running a political campaign, by dressing appropriately and being punctual.
  14. Respect and treat people the way you would like to be respected and treated. Uplift people instead of bringing them down or being considered as a toxic coworker in the workplace. Develop relationships and properly manage people emotions, don’t impose your emotions on others, don’t create enemies where you can have a supportive friend. As a result, you can become a good contributor and a valuable team member.
  15. Embrace change, renew your coping and self-defense mechanism.
  16. Expect to make mistakes, to learn from them and keep it moving.
  17. Avoid naysayers and haters like the plague. Change your circle of friends if they are the ones bringing you down.
  18. Service others. Servicing others doesn’t mean to submit to everyone and to every order. It means doing your best to get along with one another.

Last word of advice!

If you happen to abuse substance or are in emotional distress in the workplace, don’t be ashamed, you are not alone. Please talk about it to your closest family and friends, or find the nearest Workplace Help Center.

Hope that I’ve helped you get it together on your way to leadership!

Don’t forget to like, share and leave a comment below.