Counter-Intuitive Leadership and Innovation

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

"Leadership is a matter of how to be, not how to do." ~ Frances Hesselbein

"Managers and employees broadly agree on the attitudes, values, and behavior that make companies innovative. Topping the list, in McKinsey’s research, were openness to new ideas and a willingness to experiment and take risks. There is also widespread agreement about the cultural attributes that inhibit innovation: bureaucracy, hierarchy, and fear."


Where do you sit on the spectrum of leadership behaviours, values and attitudes? Do you look for control through too much structure? Over reporting? Too many meetings that don't have clear objectives or outcomes? Do you value the learning that comes from failure? Do you talk up innovation and then fail to act? Do you encourage risk taking and a willingness to consider new ideas?


I get it, it's a big ask to do these things. Budgets are tight, sales slow and profits not where they need to be. Management and shareholders are breathing down your neck to get better results. Faced with this it is far easier to tighten the reins. And it might work for a while for the bottom line, but, engagement will drop, resistance will increase, people might even leave. You certainly wont create space for innovation.


This is the time you need to be bold and be the leader you need to be to have others willingly and happily follow you. You need to draw on every aspect of your change fitness as you go through your own change process and take your organisation through change because this is not a short trip, it's a journey of some length. But, it is a journey worth taking! #bechangefit



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