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.

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The Importance Of Successfully Leading Through Change

To remain competitive, most organizations stay up to date on every technology, continually propose innovative products and always embrace change. However, putting change into practice is much more complex than it appears.

To that effect, effective leaders have to be confident, self-aware, self-assured, strategic, adaptable, bold, resourceful, driven, accountable and able to think on their feet. Needless to say, ineffective leadership hinders change, creates mistrust, disengagement, misalignment and a loss of moral among employees.

Wondering how to successfully lead change and overcome resistance?

Leading Through Change

Change is a part of life, is a constant and is inevitable. Change shakes things up, disrupts old habits, breathes new life into the workplace and into any project.

It has the ability to stimulate interest in a job and can be perceived as a new challenge. It also creates an opportunity for promotion and to learn new skills.

Change becomes compulsory and evident in the workplace during societal movements, when the values and beliefs of both leaders and employees no longer match those of the company. Change also happens when the organization requires new skills, new products or services, policies update, restructuring, or relocation.

Resistance to change

Change brings about an initial resistance, can easily become chaotic and unstable. When faced with change, most people believe that they will:

  • potentially lose their current position,
  • be demoted, that their career will eventually suffer or that their hard work will be devalued,
  • be working for a lower salary,
  • lose control over their own life,
  • live in the unknown.

The unknown generates strong emotions in people. Therefore, employees tend to resist change when they are surprised or unprepared, don’t understand the reasons for the change, are not implicated enough in the decision-making process.

Indeed, some people will openly express their resistance to change, some will voluntarily sabotage change, others will quietly and passively express their discontent. It is the role of the leader to temper such behavior and push change.

How to implement change?

The leaders must visibly act out the change, must be ready to do things differently and to think otherwise. To lead the change process from start to finish:

  1. Assess your own ability to handle change. Before undertaking such mission, ensure that you believe in the change and that it doesn’t go against your principles. In addition, keep in mind that reacting to the change is much more difficult than initiating it. Either you can start the movement, participate in it or suffer and react to it.
  2. Stay disciplinedresilient and patient. The change process is slow and everybody moves at their own pace.
  3. Learn to communicate your vision which encompasses your values and morals.
  4. Be authentic and transparent in order to build trust and to improve relationships. Change is much more difficult to implement when there is a climate of mistrust.
  5. Be open to feedback and to making alterations to the original plan of action.
  6. Ask probing questions to key employees, acknowledge that you don’t know all the answers and be open to learn continually. This will allow you to gather appropriate information, to anticipate issues, to maximize effort.
  7. Evaluate the right amount of change you want to implement. You don’t want to overwhelm or burn out your employees .
  8. Calculate the costs and determine the feasibility of the change to ensure that it doesn’t get out of control. It becomes critical to motivate the necessary time and resources, to place emphasis on the value and sustainability of change.
  9. Analyze the consequences of change before undertaking anything.
  10. Understand the company culture, its values and beliefs in order to best present ideas and to determine a proper structure.
  11. Design a clear strategy and outcome for the process. For example, you can break the change process into smaller steps, prioritize them and create metrics to measure progress.
  12. Identify the influencers and the people who are open to change in your organization. Find informal leaders in your organization, who will motivate others and who will instill pride in their work.
  13. Discuss the implications of change with your employees and increase the number of meetings if necessary. Listen to the questions and concerns of your employees. It is necessary to reassure people about the upcoming changes by explaining to them the reasons and the benefits for change.
  14. Directly address problems, don’t micromanage and don’t openly criticize dissenting voices in order to shut them up.
  15. Keep your energy up during the process, motivate your team and show them the positive sides of the transformation. Persuade your employees that they will benefit from the change to increase commitment.
  16. Encourage collaboration on your team, mitigate conflicts and maintain harmony as much as possible because emotions are high.
  17. Set high expectations and give your team the confidence to deal with changes and gain their approval every step of the way.
  18. Give your employees more ownership of their work to increase commitment.
  19. Expect setbacks. Understand that the risks are worth the rewards and that it is OK to fail. People don’t take risks when there are no personal rewards, there is no clemency towards failure.

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.

Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action by Simon Sinek


In Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take ActionSimon Sinek explains the importance of identifying your personal purpose and extending this knowledge to different areas of your life.

Discovering your purpose will help you to avoid making bad assumptions about people, to make better decisions, to inspire people, to motivate people to achieve goals, to build great organizations and to mature into a successful leader.

Undeniably, most of us make unfair assumptions about other people, about the world around us and we tend to adjust our lives around these assumptions. Others attempt to gather information through polls, surveys, personal experience or external perspectives to make important decisions and to motivate people.

However, having the right data and all the great advice in the world doesn’t protect us from making bad decisions and underperforming. How to make the best decisions, achieve a desired outcome, motivate people and be successful, discarding all assumptions?

Manipulation for Motivation

Leaders achieve results by making decisions. When leaders don’t understand their goals or the way to achieve an outcome, they tend to manipulate others to reach their goals.

Manipulation is quite visible and effective in the business world, has become the norm and a flawed assumption in itself. For example, businesses either:

  • Drop their prices to attract customers in order to get rid of old products and to welcome new ones. This creates low expectations in customers who stop buying and wait for the next price decrease.
  • Give away free promotions with their products to entice customers. The promotional process is purposefully complicated to reduce the number of people getting the free product but to increase the number of random product purchase.
  • Use fear to motivate people, to make them obey rules, to understand the consequences of their actions and moreover to step away from unwanted products. Fear tactics are seen in advertisements and in politics.
  • Make us aspire to a better lifestyle with one product. This tactic has a positive intention but is still manipulative because it is only effective with insecure people.
  • Use peer pressure to make people believe that their product is the best and that they have no choice but to purchase it. This tactic is designed to make people feel like they are missing out on something.
  • Innovate in order to compensate for society’s need for change and to potentially boost sales. In reality, companies don’t invent new products but add features to existing ones.
  • Write conditions in fine prints , offer products at low tariffs to only rise the price later.

However, manipulation is a back biting and short termed method to get results. It guarantees transactions and not loyalty.

Inspiration for Motivation: The Golden Circle

Some leaders go against the norm and choose to inspire people rather than manipulating them. To do so, they follow the Golden Circle.

Inspired by the mathematical golden ratio, the Golden Circle rule has many applications in different areas of life, favors “order and predictability in human behavior”, helps leaders communicate their vision from the inside out.

The Golden Circle is a guide to vastly improving leadership skills, the corporate culture, the company’s hiring skills, product development, sales and marketing. It even explains loyalty and how to create enough momentum to turn an idea into a social movement.

Start With Why

The Golden Circle has 3 steps: first identify why,  then ask how and lastly ask what.

Ask Why

Leaders who know why they do what they do first build long-lasting success, are much more appealing, are able to communicate their belief, to include people, to drive positive decisions and to command loyalty. A lack of understanding of why leaders do what they do only breeds doubt, make decisions harder, make them resort to manipulation.

Knowing why will improve the leader’s charisma and confidence, will attract followers by giving them something to believe in, will inspire them but won’t be able to drive an entire movement.

To have a broader impact, leaders have to be authentic, to trust their gut and their purpose. Additionally, they have to diffuse their message, through commercials and through their logo, with a purpose and not with manipulation tactics.

Ask How

The second step resides in putting the purpose into action. To put their vision into action, leaders must gather a following and gain their trust. Therefore, leaders have to identify their core values and principles that guide their decisions, be disciplined enough to stick to these values, share their purpose, and show that they are not self-interested.

Followers having the same set of values as the leaders will have the opportunity to innovate, to trust the workspace and to go the extra mile. Having a loyal following provides peace of mind, increases trust, reduces the stress levels and the need for hard work.

Needless to say, leaders with different sets of values, often don’t fit in a particular culture. If they don’t belong, they won’t be able to make others feel like they belong, they won’t hire people who will embody their values.

Ask What

The third and last step consists in leaders remaining consistent and staying accountable to their values and principles.

Maintaining the Golden Circle

When leaders or organizations no longer have purpose, start feeling unsuccessful and start being untrustworthy, though having great achievements under their belts.

Leaders must fight to maintain the Golden Circle so that they can sustain trust, drive and purpose. To do so, they must maintain clarity of their vision, extract it and integrate it into the culture of the company and find a successor willing to preserve the vision.

Review

Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action, by Simon Sinek is a self-help book that help you understand the importance of having a purpose.

The Golden Circle classifies people in Why-types (visionaries), How-types (realists and executives) and What-types (employees). In addition, the Golden Circle clarifies the conception of great organization and the composition of all hierarchy. At the top of the organization, stands the leader representing the vision and imagining the destination. In the middle, are the executives who know how to bring the vision to life and imagine the route. Finally, at the bottom, are the employees who implement the results (money, profit, prices).

It is remarkable for people who owns businesses, for leaders who want to market themselves, to find their purpose and sustain success. Becoming successful without knowing who you are is almost impossible.

I would have to agree with Simon Sinek: loyalty and trust are the most valued and long-lasting qualities in relationships and in business. These qualities reduce our stress levels and the pressure to compete or to innovate.

Furthermore, it discloses real truths in marketing, in business and in corporate, observes what makes them successful and what makes them fail. It also shows us the numerous manipulation tactics that we have certainly fallen victims to.

Favorite quote(s)

We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe. Their ability to make us feel like we belong, to make us feel special, safe and not alone is part of what gives them the ability to inspire us. Those whom we consider great leaders all have an ability to draw us close and to command our  loyalty.

Cultures are groups of people who come together around a common set of values and beliefs. When we share values and beliefs with others, we form trust. Trust of others allows us to rely on others to help protect our children and ensure our
personal survival. […]  A company is a culture.

What all great leaders have in common is the ability to find good
fits to join their organizations

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Author

Simon Sinek

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Simon Sinek

author

Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker. He is also the author of Start With Why — How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Take Action (2009) and of Leaders Eat Last — Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t.

The Importance Of Trust In Leadership

The consequences of distrust are significant. It increases employees turnover and employees don’t volunteer ideas like they should, question every single move  of the leader, undermine his or her decisions.

Nobody wants to go to work where they constantly have to look behind their shoulder, where they cannot share knowledge freely, where they cannot speak up in meetings, where they have to watch their every single word.

We end up losing confidence in yourself, not wanting to contribute at work, preserving ourselves, acting against our core values, lacking energy, refusing to invest in people, felling alone and always on the look out.

Wondering how to build or repair trust in leadership and in the workplace?

Trust In Leadership

What is trust?

Trust is an emotional bond, a connection between two people who is developed through repeated interactions and that provides comfort and stability. It is the foundation of all relationships and according to Patrick Lencioni, in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team it is  the most important factor in team cohesion.

Furthermore, trust is reciprocal, subjective, takes time to build but can be destroyed in a matter of seconds. It is not granted by a title nor by a position but is necessary to work and to share knowledge. Trust is empowering, improves overall employees motivation, productivity, wellbeing in the workplace and corporate culture.

Trust is detrimental to leadership because leaders have the power to make decisions that can impact their team and their livelihood.

Detecting and understanding untrustworthy leaders

Trustworthy leaders drive success, put employees at ease, have their employees best interest at heart. Trustworthy leaders care about their own contributions, about the impact of their decision, about their people and regularly show appreciation. They are fair and respectful, are credible and communicate openly.

Nevertheless, some leaders exhibit negative behaviors that make them seem untrustworthy. Because, trust is subjective and because followers model these behavior, it is compulsory that leaders identify what they are doing wrong and immediately correct themselves.

Below are different scenarios where leaders are perceived to be untrustworthy and the respective explanation to their behavior.

Scenario #1

Some leaders are naturally reserved and secretive. Unfortunately, they come off as being snobs, defensive, or as having a personal agenda. People generally think the worst when they don’t know what their leader is thinking.

Scenario #2

Some leaders are introverts and minimize social interactions. To their team, they are perceived to either be standoffish, weirdos. This can open the door to a lot of misunderstandings and conflicts.

Scenario #3

Some leaders speak very little because they either believe that the topic doesn’t deserve much conversation, don’t enjoy speaking, don’t feel the need to explain themselves or they are unable to put their thoughts into words.

Scenario #4

Some leaders adapt their response to their audience and come off as being disingenuous. For example, they would talk frankly in front of their team and sugarcoat things in front of the hierarchy.

Scenario #5

Some leaders are self-serving and don’t care about their employees. They don’t demonstrate respect for their team and can easily step over them.

Scenario #6

Some leaders are arrogant. They feel superior to others all while being insecure, they lack humility and self-awareness, they are unwilling to learn and to grow.

Scenario #7

Some leaders blatantly lie. In some toxic companies, lying is seen as a strength. But this strength is short-termed and create distrust amongst employees.

Scenario #8

Some leaders gossip about their own employees and their own organization. Because most employees are attempting to preserve their jobs, employees tend to fake their true feelings. However, leaders have difficulties noticing the impact of their negative behavior.

Scenario #9

Some leaders are able to shift blame too easily and don’t take responsibility for their action. This leader is afraid of confronting themselves. This makes employees unwilling to take risks and to involve themselves in their job.

Scenario #10

Some leaders play favorites, treat their employees unfairly, take credit for their work, disrespect them, isolate and scapegoat some employees and sabotage others.

Scenario #11

Some leaders underperform or don’t come through on promises. People tend to dismiss those who overpromise and underperform, even if they are talented or competent.

Scenario #12

Some leaders overreact to challenges and under high pressured situations, they give in too easily to their emotions.

How to build trust and maintain it in the workplace?

Placing trust in someone makes us vulnerable to that person who can use this vulnerability to their advantage. However, to create a healthy workplace, it is necessary for leaders to build trust within their team. To do so, you will have to:

  1. Trust yourself in order to make yourself feel confident, competent, to help yourself grow your relationships, to take risks and to face challenges.
  2. Develop your character and learnt to do what is right.
  3. Learn new skills and teach them to others.
  4. Create a safe workplace. Help others express themselves, their ideas, and vent their frustrations. Help employees achieve their goals. Give your employees room to grow their skills and self-esteem by offering them training and coaching.
  5. Appreciate people‘s capabilities and employ them for their strengths.
  6. Give trust to receive trust. However, beware of people who will take advantage of your eagerness to trust. Learn how to detect these toxic individuals and protect yourself from them.
  7. Actively listen to your team without speaking or emitting judgements.
  8. Be open and honest with important company information. Don’t shy away from the truth.
  9. Positively present your thoughts and ideas to your team.
  10. Involve your team in the decision-making process.
  11. Don’t allow communication to break down and don’t withhold any information from your team. misunderstandings are easily created and can decrease trust.
  12. Clarify your employees assignments, roles and measure their progress. For example, give your employees the necessary authority to accomplish their assignments and trust their decisions.
  13. Avoid gossiping like the plague. It may seem fun and you might enjoy the camaraderie but it is unprofessional and unethical. Respect what people have told you in confidence.
  14. Adopt consistent behaviors and expectations on a daily basis. Employees tend to trust leaders who are predictable, who represent the company’s values and missions.
  15. Admit mistakes, acknowledge negative situations and sincerely apologize if necessary. Take responsibility for your actions.
  16. Be reliable. Carry out promises and meet deadlines. Be careful of what you promise to others before you compromise your relationships.
  17. Give and accept constructive criticism to build long-lasting relationships.
  18. Forgive instead of seeking revenge and perpetuating distrustful behavior.

 

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.