March 4, 2022
It seems that organizations consistently face two challenges. One is the challenge of human capital—especially leadership—and the other is the challenge of innovation. Innovation is an ascending issue around the world. In our own practice, we believe these two challenges are intertwined. Peak levels of innovation are extremely dependent on the quality of leadership in the organization. When leadership is strong, these organizations seem to invariably lead on the innovation dimension as well.
One finding from the research my colleague Joe Folkman and I have done on approximately 60,000 leaders who had received 360-degree feedback data from nearly 830,000 colleagues was that innovation usually sits in the middle of the competencies we measure. However, the bosses of our participants placed it lower. They consistently ranked innovation at 13 out of the 16 competencies we most frequently measure.
What do successful leaders do that elevates innovation to a higher level? By parsing out the people who received the highest scores on innovation, we were able to see what other behaviors align with high innovation. Because nearly every organization seeks to escalate innovation, this understanding is a valuable insight.
We found several behaviors that appear to drive innovation:
Our greatest insight from this analysis is that innovation is very seldom a one-person show. It is nearly always a team effort, and the culture that spawns that effort is the result of a leader who recognizes the organizational need for innovation and recognizes the contribution leaders make to create a culture from which innovation emerges.
Connect with Zenger Folkman on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
(This article first appeared on Forbes)
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