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In the second part of “Breaking Away” the authors Jane Stevenson and Bilal Kaafarani say that without leadership there is no innovation. They say that innovation can be an inspiration, but leadership is the way that it becomes reality or a commercial success.
The authors say that true leaders create an environment in their organizations to allow innovation to prosper as well as become successful. It shields the innovation from the quarterly financial mindset of many organizations and creates an atmosphere that encourages employees to try things and fail. Innovation leadership also inspires people to take risks and reach their potential.
They define innovative leaders in four ways:
1.Have certain capabilities and characteristics such as confidence, intuitive, good listening skills, genuine, courageous, humble, and tenacious as well as the ability to dream big and have others follow that dream
2.Have a large network and affiliations outside of just their organization in order to broaden their thinking and learn and grow from others
3.Whole thinking or being able to balance both right brain (creative, intuitive) and left-brain (logical, analytical) thinking
4.Sustainability through living in a balanced way (e.g. - having interests outside of work, having downtime, etc)
They then break down these innovative leaders into personality types described below:
1.Transformational leader - bold, visionary, independent, see things in a way that few other people can, want to change the world
2.Category leader - a builder and thrives on growth opportunities, entrepreneurial, comfortable with risk, like to be in a collaborative environment
3.Marketplace leader - know the game plan and what their role is, in tune with other’s moods, emotions, politically savvy, and good at motivating
4.Operational leader - organized, detail oriented, risk averse, need for safety and predictability
Each of these types of personalities can be present in an organization at different times in order to help a company or business go to another level. In a previous company I worked for the leader to took the company public was a category leader, but then the leader who was brought in to stabilize and eventually sell the company was more of an operational leader. Each leader brought in different types of skills and yet were needed at that particular time in the growth of the company.
What type of personality are you as a leader or are the leaders in your organizations? Do you have the characteristics of an innovative leader? How can you develop or hone some of the characteristics of this type of leader?
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.