When we think of leadership credibility, the first qualities that often come to mind are trust, honesty, and respect. And with good reason: these qualities are the bedrock of any strong relationship between a leader and his or her team.
But another important characteristic of credible leadership is the ability to anticipate and adapt to change. Innovation is what keeps businesses successful in a changing market, and good leaders adopt innovative thinking and agility into everyday practice. Transformational leaders are always looking forward, finding new ways to reach long-term goals. If the only constant is change, then these leaders need to be able to adapt.
If you’re looking for ways to strengthen your leadership credibility beyond trust, innovation can be a very good place to start. Begin by listening to the needs of your employees. What patterns do you find coming up in feedback? What problems have team members and managers identified that require innovative solutions? Willingness to address issues early on demonstrates forward thinking and agility. It’s only by acknowledging areas of potential improvement that a company will thrive in the face of evolving market pressures.
But identifying areas of improvement isn’t the only step to innovation. Strong leaders encourage problem-solving solutions from their teams, but they offer more than banal platitudes about creativity. What parameters (budgetary constraints, infrastructure, staffing) must the team work within? What benchmarks does the business need to meet in the process of developing new initiatives? Freedom within limits will offer teams a much-needed foundation so they can stay on task and develop real solutions. Ultimately, innovative leaders strive to balance the inspiration of the vision with the needs of day-to-day operation.
Like many other goals of a company, leadership credibility is a long-term process. Being willing to acknowledge internal and external changes, to explore potential solutions, and to provide involved guidance during the innovative process can only help to strengthen a leader’s credibility. These actions demonstrate that leaders are a vested party in the company’s success.
Leaders with the most impact are those who can build and successfully manage great teams. Every day, we help our clients and colleagues achieve their highest levels of professional presence and personal effectiveness. That includes everyone on the ladder, from company presidents to project managers to staff members. Contact us at 800-282-3374 to find out how we can help you impact your own productivity and the productivity of your entire organization.
Employee Development Systems delivers results-oriented training programs that increase productivity, effectiveness, & performance.
Photo by Kay Kim(김기웅) via Flickr