5 Secrets to Innovative Leadership

February 25, 2012

The best leaders are innovative. Period.

“Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.”

-Bill Gates

To inspire better innovation, who better to examine then its modern day father: Thomas Edison. In an intriguing article, Lisa Petrilli writes about secrets to innovative leadership. When it comes to better leadership, here are 5 tips to improve your own skills, and the skills of those around you:

1. Have a Solution-Centered Mindset
“Purpose determines perception”. People will follow you if you offer guidance, confidence, and solutions, not problems, challenges, and issues.

2. Practice Kaleidoscope Thinking

The best thinkers and innovators (Edison, da Vinci, Newton, Einstein) all though about multiple problems from multiple angles at once. If you can’t find a solution or create a solution-centered mindset, try looking at the problem through a kaleidoscope.

3. Build a Collaborative Team

Build a diverse team, reward collaboration, create an inspiring team, and recognize that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

4. Be Fully Engaged

According to Edison, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Hard work and tenacity will do more to improve your leadership ability then almost any other skill.

5. Look Into the Future

The best way to lead a team is to know where you are leading it. To do this, you have to anticipate what is coming, and to share your vision for a better future.

Henry Ford famously said that “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me ‘A faster horse’.” Leadership is often the same way. People won’t say they need innovation or better leadership until they can see it. It’s your job to open their eyes.

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