By Rosemarie Diegnan, Wazoku

Almost every organisation out there would love to have a leader who knows how to make a company more innovative; but they can be hard to come by.  However, you may already have managers in your organisation with the potential to do this.  They simply need some guidance as to how to become the kind of leader that inspires their teams to take on innovation and build a creative culture.

Below is a list of the Top 10 traits & behaviours that I believe can help a leader inspire his / her employees. An innovation leader:

1.    Has A Strong Strategic Vision, And Shares It. The most effective innovation leaders can vividly describe their vision of the future, and how they’re going to achieve this. No company goals are made easier to achieve by keeping people uninformed, so make it a best practice to keep your employees not just up to speed, but engaged and informed.

2.    Knows Their Customers. What is semi-important to the customer is crucial to you. Get inside the customer’s mind. Network with clients, ask questions about their needs and wants, find out exactly what you or your business can do to improve the customer experience.

3.    Trust Their Employees. Innovation often requires some level of risk. Not all innovative ideas are successful. Highly innovative leaders initiate warm, collaborative relationships with the innovators who work for them. They make themselves highly accessible and colleagues know that their leader would cover their backs and not throw them under the bus if something went wrong.

4.    Is Loyal To Their Purpose. Stay loyal to doing what’s right for the organization and customer. As natural as it seems simply working to please the boss or some other higher-level executive should always takes a back seat to doing the right thing for the project or the company.

5.    Celebrates Upward Communication. The best and most innovative ideas can come from anywhere in an organisation, not just the top. Strive to create a company culture that encourages suggestions from all levels be it from those on the front line or on the C-Suite. Stay receptive and open-minded to ideas from anyone.

6.    Is Persuasive. You have to be pretty effective in getting others to accept good ideas. Don’t push or force ideas onto teams. Instead, present ideas with enthusiasm and conviction, and people will follow.

7.    Excels at Setting Stretch Goals. These goals require people to go far beyond just working harder. Work out new ways of achieving success and don’t stop pushing the boundary of what your organisation can do.

8.    Is Faster and Decisive. Speed can ‘scrape the barnacles of the hull of the boat’. Experiments and quick prototypes can help you push on to success, or write off an unsuccessful idea with a minimum amount of wastage.

9.    Is Candid and Honest. Provide honest, and at times even sometimes forthright, feedback. Even if at times being overly open can be challenging for some, an innovative leader needs to be clear and concise and on average, people will always appreciate honesty.

10. Inspires and motivates through action. Be the example of how you want your employees / colleagues to act. Have passion for the projects you work on, and the feeling will catch on to those around you.


So there you have it. It may not seem game-changing, but developing these 10 traits will get you well on your way to inspiring others to be just as innovative as you.