Sustaining Innovation with Leadership

Leadership plays an important role in sustaining Innovation within an organization. Commitment and Patience are two most important attributes that the Leaders will be expected to have in the new setup. Commitment to new initiatives suggested by the employees and the patience to stick with them through the lean times. “If there’s a glimmer of hope, you’re encouraged to keep a project going and see if it could become a big thing” says Bob Doak, who leads a Gore plant in Dundee, Scotland.

Projects might fail initially but that is where the Leaders are expected to analyze where things went wrong and take corrective steps in subsequent projects so that same mistakes are not made over and again. As we all know, making mistakes is not an issue. Making the same mistakes repeatedly is an offense. Leaders will be expected to ensure that this doesn’t happen. Counseling the employees who do such mistakes will be the responsibility of Leaders. They will be expected not only provide creative inputs themselves but also play the role of enablers.

Leaders are also expected to give their employees a long haul and be patient enough to reap the benefits of the new culture. Often, this is where organizations fail. A couple of projects fall through and the Leadership is fast to move back to their old ways. Traveling unchartered territories obviously has its own risks and rewards and patience is one virtue that Leaders will possess in abundance. The attitude should be to make the initiative a success – if that is made clear to the leaders, the good ones will come up with proactive ideas and suggestions on how to clear the hurdles that come their way.

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