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The Distinction Between Innovative Leadership and Innovation

  • Innovative leadership involves creating an environment where greater inventiveness and creativity can occur
  • Inventors don’t necessarily have the expertise to manage others, but flourish under competent leaders
  • Business owners must be prepared to provide flexibility and embrace a diversified workforce

It’s easy to confuse innovative leaders with innovators, ThoughtExchange COO Jessica Nordlander argues in a recent piece for Rather than striving to create new or transformative products or processes, innovative leaders should focus on creating an environment where innovation can occur.

Nordlander says this approach involves risk-taking and an exploration of different leadership practices, along with embracing advances in technology and employee knowledge. A team’s creativity is most likely to flourish when occurs when its workers are able to contribute a variety of perspectives and ideas.

Leaders can take an innovative approach by being flexible with time, technology, support, and other resources (Nordlander notes how many tech companies allow workers one day a week to freelance their own projects). Leaders should also embrace a diverse workforce of people from different backgrounds and stages of life.

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