5 Benefits of Investing Time in Innovative Leadership

Over lunch with a dear friend and executive yesterday, I heard her sense of dread about getting out of bed in the morning and going to work. She is a very upbeat person so this is a new experience for her. She believed about 80% of her executive peers had similar dread on a daily basis and really wondered how they could make it through their day.

People are actually hoping the 2012 disaster predictions are true so they can escape the jobs that they dreamt about and worked their entire lives to achieve. How can that be?

We go to college, take the right stretch assignments, relocate for jobs, and work crazy hours so we can reach this goal – being an executive. All those sacrifices, time with friends and family, missed events, putting off relationships and family. Then the question – I gave up so much to get here? Now what? Is this really it?

How does this tie to innovative leadership? Most of the leaders I know are working longer hours than they ever imagined at this point in life. We all expected to pay our dues and we expected that the long hours and crazy schedules would be rewarded with promotion and an opportunity to live a more balanced life. Many are at the top of their game with regard to skills and abilities and still working crazy hours and feeling burned out. As they look down the road, what are they working for?

Innovative leadership helps leaders change how they see their role as leaders and develop additional awareness and skills to shift their experience. What do you get from focusing on Innovative Leadership?

  1. It can help you become more self-aware – providing a foundation for different choices and more productive interactions

2.  It can increase your ability to find innovative approaches to solve problems

3.  It can help you change your habitual thinking – moving away from unproductive thoughts

4.  It can help you become more systematic in your problem solving and decision making – more comprehensive solutions mean more efficiency

5.  It can guide your leadership behaviors to a more generative (less controlling) style – increasing engagement and productivity among your team

Here is an example of a leader who is using innovative leadership and his successes after a couple of months.

Our leader is being groomed for a senior leadership role in a major university.  He is known for getting significant results often with limited financial resources and little political support.  Now that he is moving into a more visible role, certain behaviors will no longer serve him.

In this case, he took a 360 degree assessment that gave  numeric  scores and written comments from his boss, peers, and subordinates.  He learned from this that his aggressive tactics have undermined him with his peers.  They saw him as acting in his personal interest over the interest of the team.  Using this information, he is now much more aware of his actions and how others view him.  He made significant progress in rebuilding several key relationships and is also building a broader base of support across the university.  His self-awareness provided him the foundation to make very different choices in how he relates to peers and people who will become his peers when he is promoted. He is much more of a team player, considering the needs of the group and how he can work with others to accomplish a much broader goal than the ones he was accomplishing only a few months ago.

So, with those potential benefits – can you afford the time to explore what it is? If you missed it, I invite you to visit Is your Leadership Innovative? explaining more about Innovative Leadership.

image credit: deliverfreedom.com

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Vision and Values - The Antidote to Burnout ?Metcalf & Associates provides training, coaching, team building, and organizational transformation to help leadership teams become more innovative, and thrive in a rapidly changing environment. Maureen is the author of Innovative Leadership Fieldbook, and a free on-line Innovative Leadership assessment.

Maureen Metcalf




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No Comments

  1. Ben Simonton (@BenSimonton) on May 7, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Each person has an amount of innovation, creativity, and productivity, an amount different from every other person. The goal of managing people is to unleash the full amount of every employee’s innovation, creativity, and productivity, a total amount that makes the manager’s own contribution look almost miniscule. If a manager/executive does this, they will not have any stress, will work far less hours, and be extremely proud of what they have done.

    The only effective way to unleash each employee’s full potential is to fully, 100%, meet the employee’s five basic needs: the need to be heard, the need to be respected, and the need to have competence, autonomy, and purpose in order to be motivated (proven by the research of Edward Deci and Richard Ryan).

    How to do that? Meet management’s responsibility by providing tangible support to employees at the very highest standards (training, tools, information, parts, material, direction, discipline and the like) and intangible support at the highest standards (competence, confidence, respect, autonomy, morale, commitment, trust, and the like).

    How to do that? Listen to the complaints, suggestions and questions of employees since they are the only ones who know how good your support is and respond to these to their satisfaction as a minimum, 24/7.

    Best regards, Ben
    Author “Leading People to be Highly Motivated and Committed”

  2. richard on May 7, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I am sure a lot of readers will want to know more about innovative leadership.

    Unfortunately the link to Is your Leadership Innovative? does not seem to work. Or is it for members only?

    • Braden Kelley on May 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      Thank you for the comment Richard.

      Sorry, the link was wrong. I’ve fixed it.

      – Braden (@innovate)

  3. Maria on May 7, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I appreciate Maureen’s perspective and wisdom.

  4. Mike Drew on May 8, 2012 at 2:57 am

    I’ve also encountered people with the same problems – feeling burnt out, and exhausted, not sure which direction is best to take now. These benefits can certainly help them find their direction. Thanks for sharing.

    Mike Drew
    HappyTODOS Project Management

    • Maureen Metcalf on May 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

      Thanks for your comment Mike. One of the main approaches I encourage peopel to consider is managing their negative thinking. While there are many things to do – this one can happen any time and place.

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