Thursday, November 29, 2018

Harnessing Innovation by Practicing Open Leadership Styles

The digital leaders are multi-dimensional thinkers and versatile innovators themselves.

Innovation is more than designing new products or services, it is about establishing and nurturing a way of thinking where innovation is in every aspect of the business. The art of innovation is that it involves new ways of bringing together ideas and resources to create something novel. The science of innovation is to take a structural approach to manage innovation. It requires collaboration, openness, sharing, and joyful teamwork. This is radically different from the command-and-control style of management. Digital leaders today can harness innovation by practicing open leadership styles and improve innovation management effectiveness.

Inquisitive style: Traditional managers are used to telling rather than asking. However, asking open-end questions is great to evoke responses to enlighten or illustrate specific issues or topics to stimulate creativity. Being innovative means you need to get used to stepping outside the old box to unfamiliar territory and you discover and explore your own path. Digital leaders need to have an open mind, show flexibility, break down outdated rules, deploy new ideas, optimized processes, or new ventures and practice inquisitive leadership style to harness innovation. They have the courage to lead boldly by asking “Why not,” to articulate the strategic rationale and boost creative energy; asking “What if” to reimagine new possibilities, and asking “How about” to bring up fresh viewpoint. It’s important for digital leaders and professionals to be inquisitive with learning agility, to ask the right questions using business's vocabulary. Asking the right questions helps to validate how thoroughly and deeply your team’s thinking is on a particular issue. The good question is thought-provoking, brings the multifaceted perspective. Like a piece of art, the great question is beautiful and insightful, connect the dots to spark the imagination.

Intrapreneurship style: Intrapreneurship is a unique combination of “being innovative” and high mature leadership behaviors that develop and achieve high-quality business results over a sustained period of time. Intrapreneur leaders are not only self-motivated but also motivate teams to cultivate change capabilities, encourage the staff to think out-of-the-box, and enforce “ownership” mentality. Besides calculating and managing risks, accountability can be harnessed by motivating employees to achieve higher than expected results and build the culture of learning, trust, and risk-taking. Shared accountability or collective accountability involves shared ownership, empathetic communication, and mutual sharing in successes. Practicing intrapreneurship means to harness changes, cultivate an innovative culture and learn to generate more novel ideas in diverse teams. Intrapreneur leaders understand that it is the process, instead of maintaining hierarchy or status quo, will create and enforce the collective mindset of creativity through systematic Innovation Management.

Mentoring style: Digital leaders are more as a great mentor than an entitled commander, in order to harness innovation through pulling, not pushing. The digital leaders with coach/mentor style can show the team how to explore who they are -their own natural skill sets, talents, and strong sides, and take into account their own objectives in line with working needs. They have the ability to listen and observe; the ability to ask probing open questions; show a degree of imagination and empathy - to put themselves in the mentee’s for understanding their perspective, initiate open discussions, allow the mentee to lead the agenda; avoid being too prescriptive and encourage creativity. The digital leaders with mentoring style inspire the culture of learning and creativity. There should be a balance between the organization and the individual where the responsibility for learning is concerned. The organization should be able to identify fundamental skill requirements at different levels of management and the individual must self-assess and identify what they lack to move forward and seek to learn, with the goals to develop high-quality employees and stimulate creativity.

The digital leaders are multi-dimensional thinkers and versatile innovators themselves. Beside their vision and leadership substance, as well as a unique set of leadership competency; they will also adjust their leadership styles accordingly in order to catalyze change and harness innovation for leading their organization to the next level of organizational maturity.


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