Role of leadership in innovation

One common challenge in the innovation
process is: the shortage of effective leaders. Often, organizations wonder why
they have difficulties implementing innovation strategies, but fail to see that
the quality of its leaders determines the quality and success of its plans.
Success in business (or, any other area) is tied to effective leadership.
Someone (or, a team) must provide the right level of insight and energy that
would ensure the fulfilment of the dream. Leadership ability is vital for
successful innovation.

In his book, The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, the leadership expert, John
C. Maxwell, talks about The Law of the Lid, which states that – leadership
ability determines a person’s level of effectiveness. He illustrates it this
way: on a scale of 1 to 10 (1, lowest; 10 highest), if your leadership ability
is a 4, then your team will not function above a 3. But if your ability is at a
9, then your team will function at level 8. The idea is that your level of
leadership ability puts a cap or lid on the function of the people you lead.
Hence, your team will produce results accordingly.

Here, the challenge lies in constantly
increasing your leadership capacity to ensure the effectiveness of you and your
team. Sadly, many people don’t understand leadership and how it works.

In the innovation process, effective
leadership gets results. This is your ability to understand your vision and
help your team clearly see what you see. It’s knowing how to inspire others to
action. Effective leadership is deep insight into how messy the innovation
process can get and knowing how to navigate the mess at each stage. It is the
capacity to fail, get up and to keep moving. Good leadership capacity is the
ability to keep learning, growing and changing. It’s knowing how to move people
(or, your organization) from where they are to where they’re supposed to be.
It’s being that person who people want to follow, happily.

Now, how would you scale your leadership
ability, function and impact? The good news is: whatever your level, you can
always improve and grow – if you decide. Effective leadership can be learned.
How? Find good leadership books and practice the principles that you learn,
attend conferences and seminars, connect with effective leaders, get a coach,
etc. There are many ways to improve your leadership capacity – but, you get
results only if you’re committed. Invest in the leader in you; it’s worth it.

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