Sunday, October 20, 2013

Why ‘Good Managers’ are not always Good for Innovation

It takes an innovative adventure to grow one from good to great. 

Modern managers are pillars of running complex businesses, good managers are disciplined, dedicated and accountable, however, in many cases, why good managers are not always good for innovation, what’re the issues, how to flex innovation muscles in the management team?

Only follow the best practice, not contemplate next practice: ‘Good managers’ are the ones who try to stay on the straight and narrow, follow the experience and industry best practices to make the job done, lack a sense of adventure and forget it’s just a job, not life itself. Good managers use tested and proven methodology and are least likely to deviate; they do things the same way they have been done, ALWAYS. To be a good innovator, one must be able to understand the current situation via different lenses. Think out of the box to come up with a better way of doing the right thing. It's a different competency for which companies have to train and coach their managers.

 Too much Emphasis on Control, not Enabling: Is it because good managers are good because they always ensure they do the right thing right and their main concerns are to manage the team, processes, and achieve their KPIs. They may too much emphasis on controlling, not enough energy on innovation and unleashing talent potential.

Leverage innovation-enabling process and system: If there is no support system put in place in some cases, where managers are punished with the bad rating for not demonstrating an innovative streak when he/she didn't know that he/she was allowed to do so, let alone put it into practice. An innovation support process or system can be seen in companies that clearly indicate innovation as a required competency for managers, and it's tied to performance management and total reward system.

Lack of a culture of failure tolerance: To innovate one needs to think differently from the rest, but in many traditional organizations, creative managers always get into trouble since they try new ideas which they hope will work. When these ideas do work, they get praise, and when they don't they get 100% blame. As it is a lack of a culture of failure-tolerance.Start with personal awareness and change of mindset: An innovative leader will spend more time contemplating the new possibilities, challenge the “we always do things like that” mindset, craft the next practices, breakdown the silo processes and instill the openness and inclusiveness in corporate culture.

Refine the reputation of being good managers: Who are the good managers? Clear communication of what is expected as good managers and support systems in cultivating the culture of innovation is crucial, as managers may be afraid to be innovative for fear of failure alone. In a much simpler context, the manager should take it upon himself or herself to discuss innovative ideas with his or her superior who will mentor him or her in the implementation of the new ideas; whatever that may be. So it takes clear communication and talent management process that innovation as the expectation to be a good manager.

Being a good manager is not enough, from Good to Great, it takes courage, innovation, and discipline for effective managers to make an influence on the organization and society as well. 


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