What is Innovative Leadership?

Just as the Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, ‘innovation is about the people…and how you’re led…”. People are the key assets to an innovative organization. No matter the size of a company, leadership is vital. Without a good leadership, an organisation will fall into chaos. Poor leaderships will have adverse effects on an organisation. Talent is scarce and creative people are highly in demand.

Innovative Leadership

Innovative leadership integrates innovation processes with talented people, in another word, to change organisation climate and deploy people to facilitate innovation in organisations through behaviors of leadership, by various leadership styles, or leadership priorities. Being visionary is a typical behavior of an innovative leader. Innovation leader always has some visions of lifting up prospects of an organisation. In this sense, innovative leaders are necessarily innovators, who facilitate inventions to materialize their visions of better prospect of an organisation. Creating visionary strategy is the fundamental task for an innovative leader that can guide the followers to think and behave in the right direction and can give the organisation a specific goal to achieve. It is up to the innovative leader to set clear and common goals. The defined goals must be unequivocally presented to the followers.

An innovative leadership should have a quality of communication and more skills to manoeuvre within an organisation to create a favorable climate for innovation to strengthen the leadership itself. In other words, an innovation leader must be a good communicator, who can get his message across to his/her followers and motivate them to achieve common objectives through some creative processes. To promote innovation within an organisation, the leadership has to facilitate innovations among its people based on trust, support, openness, and risk taking. Since everyone has freedom to express ideas, it is unavoidable to have conflict between leadership and employees. Innovative leadership should be capable in turning debates to stimulation of innovative ideas and thoughts, at the same time, preventing and protecting employees from personal abuses. By doing things differently or in an unconventional way, an innovation organisation truly differs from other ordinary organisations.

It is an encouragement for the followers that if the leader’s behavior is innovative. Within a group of people, most people imitate the behaviors of their leaders. The linkage between the role model and follower’s creativity is that the more creative behaviors the leader performs, the more creative their follower can produce in return. The successful innovations will also bind more followers to the leadership because of its respective contributions for innovation, or in other words, to encourage the innovation leadership and the innovative organisation to seek more innovative successes in the future. This cycle will further enhance intrinsic organisational climate for more innovations in order to facilitate competitive advantage and sustainable growth for the innovative organisation.

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