An Innovative Management Approach

 In Leadership Development

In our recently released book, The SuperSTAR Leadership Model: Good Boss, Bad Boss – Which One Are You?, we explore the 9 strategies that great leaders do on a regular basis. One of the 9 is maintaining a commitment to continual improvement. Within that strategy, we advocate that managers and leaders be innovative in the workplace.

Most of the time, when we think “innovation,” we think create and introduce a unique product or service to the market. Now, although that’s one element of innovation, we also think it’s crucial that managers consider innovation to be a concept they apply to themselves personally. When a manager is devoted to his/her own development, they are deciding that it’s important to them to evolve over time. They are constantly learning skills, refining abilities, and becoming more like who they want to be. This is an example of the innovation of an individual. Unfortunately, not many managers make this commitment. Why? Most managers are focused entirely on what their employees need to do differently. They aren’t concerned with themselves because they either believe they have it all figured out, or they believe that it all rides on their employees. Neither of those is true; in fact, those leaders would definitely fall into our “bad boss” category.

Managers that are innovative individuals will alter their approaches on a regular basis, to tweak what isn’t working and to find what works. I was recently reading a blog on HBR Blog Network that was written by Amabile and Kramer, authors of The Progressive Principle; they were writing about a concept that I believe would help managers test this idea of individual innovation. They titled it, Checking In With Employees (vs. Checking Up). Ideas like this are simple – but brilliant suggestions on how to adjust your approach to your employees’ needs, styles and preferences. You can’t know what modifications you should make, unless you are in tune with your employees. So, start there.

  • Ask your employees what they want and need.
  • Gauge the work environment regularly, so that you’re aware of what’s needed.
  • Hold periodic feedback meetings, where employees are encouraged to share their likes and dislikes.
  • Test different techniques, so that you see what strategies elicit positive responses and successful results.

Innovating your management style is a permanent process – it’s never a done deal. Even if you have made yourself a master of managing, before you know it, you’ll have new employees and a different team. New people undoubtedly deserve the same kind of attention you gave your previous team. Always take on a new perspective, never stay stagnant, and keep it fresh forever. That’s the key to innovation. It never gets old.

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