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5 ways leaders can inspire innovation

by jcp

Companies all over the world are constantly innovating – or so we think. A study of 1,000 workplaces, conducted by RADA in Business1, finds 81% of workplaces have failed to create a culture that encourages new ideas and experimentation, according to their staff. It’s important to promote a culture where your team are comfortable to take risks. With innovation being such a buzzword in this fast-paced world, it’s become a crucial part to any business – big or small. Kevin Riley, a business growth specialist from ActionCOACH Warwick, knows all too well the challenge businesses are facing.

“Businesses have to evolve and innovate every single day,” says Kevin. “If they don’t, they’ll see everyone else around them is moving forwards. If you don’t keep up, not only will your business stand still, it will actually retreat from the competition. One way to innovate in your business is to think of it as a living, breathing entity – as a leader you want to encourage the introduction of new methods, ideas or products to give it life.”

Here are Kevin’s top tips on how leaders can inspire their teams to become more innovative:

  1. Teach someone something. There’s nothing better than relaying your expertise onto someone else, enabling them to grow. As a business owner or team leader, you should be present and nothing sends that signal stronger than taking your time to teach someone something.
  1. Be enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is infectious and promotes creativity. If you’re excited, that usually resonates throughout the rest of the team. What’s more, you should have a space where employees can voice their ideas in a safe and comfortable environment. The more at ease they feel to make suggestions and come up with ideas, the more of them you’ll see – that’s a promise!
  1. Tell someone they did a good job. As humans, it’s natural to want to feel like we’re doing the right thing. And appraisal is an important part of that. If a member of your team does something that is worthy of a pat on the back, then do it – it’s important to praise the behaviour that lead to the result, rather than the result itself. There’s no greater satisfaction than feeling appreciated for what you do.
  1. Communicate in a way that suits the individual. People work in a whole manner of ways and your approach to how you communicate with them should reflect that. It’s becoming increasingly important to be on the same level as employees to ensure you optimise operations and encourage ideas.
  2. Talk about the future. Looking ahead is key to any business – your employees should be on that journey with you. They’ll feel like a valued member of the team and will be more likely to stick around for the long term if you communicate what you hope to achieve for the business as a whole.

Kevin adds: “All of these aspects promote a more feedforward approach, rather than feedback. Einstein’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same results. As a leader, you can be a catalyst for your team and business to reach the next level through innovation of systems, services and products.”


1All the workplace is a stage” by RADA Business.


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