Experts in the field of leadership studies remark that innovation is less a result of thinking and more a by-product of culture. Today, innovation and change is the norm, and they often stem from the ability of leaders to foster two kinds of cultures in an organisation.
One is the organic culture of transparency and openness that encourages everyone to approach leadership with an idea. Second is the culture of creating management processes and structures that employees can leverage to learn, explore, skill up, and broaden their horizons. All of this results from top innovative leaders creating pathways for ideas to flow seamlessly from one hierarchy to another.
Many known entrepreneurs and business people can lay claim to the title of the best empowering leader simply because they have been able to innovate and disrupt their way to success. Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Sanjiv Bajaj, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma are prime examples who have followed certain principles to draw out the seed of innovation and nurture it graciously.
Top innovative leaders, as such, must be capable of organising their vision around a concept or set of concepts rather than being creative whizzes. They don’t necessarily have to invent something on their own. Rather, through communication, vision, and encouragement, they are the ones that know which idea to harness at the right time.
Innovative Leadership in a Nutshell
The title of the ‘best empowering leader’ often goes to the individuals who supplement the ability to influence others with their innovative approach. This transpires to everyone being empowered to create ’new and better’ ideas to move the organisation forward. Innovation leadership, therefore, involves inspiring others to act constructively during times of invention, innovation, uncertainty, ambiguity, and risk. Leaders that wish to develop truly innovative products and services need to possess this competency.
The most critical aspect of innovative leadership is that the leader must also add value to the organisation. Without embracing this way of thinking, one can’t expect others to do the same and become innovative entrepreneurs.
Whether they’re famous financial leaders or visionaries in other spheres of influence, two common principles can help achieve success.
A leader who is an innovative entrepreneur must have a powerful imagination and excellent communication skills. Furthermore, they must be confident in their team and their ability to work together to accomplish their goal.
Leaders capable of innovation are likely to be those who can communicate their vision and instil enthusiasm in their followers. Every famous empowering leader in India knows that leadership by demand is less effective than leadership through motivation and inspiration in fostering creativity and innovation.
Members of the team should also be able to contribute collaboratively to the project. The most innovative projects are seldom the result of a single idea. Even though they begin with a single thought, they ultimately result from hundreds of additional ideas on ways of improving original concepts and solving problems as the idea develops.
Display Excellent Strategic Vision
Secondly, all top innovative leaders are creative visionaries. They can forge a vision along with their team that gives them the edge over competitors. This vision is often linked both to the growth of the organisation as well as the society. An innovative leader should also be able to imagine relentlessly and explore profoundly creative routes without the fear of failure. This is where true disruption occurs and enables leaders to solve market challenges with technology that others thought was still decades away.
A classic case is that of Sanjiv Bajaj, one of the most creative and visionary financial leaders in India. With over a decade at the helm of Bajaj Finserv’s financial services, he sensed the need to serve the middle class’s financial aspirations with accessible and innovative services. Today, Bajaj Finserv is amongst the most sustainable and valuable financial services companies in India. Sanjiv Bajaj’s vision stemmed from leveraging the power of differentiation to serve the unmet financial needs of the average Indian customer.
Why Is It Necessary?
With the world changing at a breakneck pace, it is incumbent upon leaders to ditch the status quo and adopt an innovative approach or risk becoming a laggard. Innovative leadership also acts as a guiding system to achieve laser-sharp focus, unyielding team spirit, a disruptive strategy, and a risk-taking appetite.
Thus, it has become one of the most adopted styles of leadership by not only famous industrial and financial leaders in India but those who are young, upcoming, and ready to chart their course to success.