divergent thinking is a part of what leads to innovation from courageous leadershipInnovation is critical for organisations to continue thriving and driving bottom line performance. The world is changing at an ever increasing rate and with globalisation this simply amps up the rate.

Why do we need courageous leadership for innovation?

Courageous leadership ignites innovation. As we strive to attract and retain good employees leaders realise the importance of innovation internally  – to meet needs of employees. Especially the younger ones who have been educated at University with the use of regular feedback mechanisms to ensure they have clarity on what constitutes high performance. It enables organisations to challenge the status quo and engage employees to stay and add value to the future of the organisation.

Leaders also recognise the importance of innovation externally –  to meet the expectations of customers who are more knowledgeable and discerning than ever before. This puts more pressure on organisations to challenge their status quo and evolve with what is happening in the market.

At the very least, innovation allows the organisation and its employees to keep pace with what is happening in their external environment.

For successful initiation and execution of innovation, existing and emerging leaders and their team members require:

  1. Trust;
  2. Courage;
  3. Preparedness to challenge and be challenged
  4. Encouragement to think divergently
  5. Comfort with the ignition and resolution of conflict
  6. Collaboration; and
  7. Involvement in decision making.

With these seven attributes comes difficulty – because in our “humanness” we judge others, our egos get in the way when people dare to suggest what we have been doing could be changed and ultimately many of us fear this kind of retribution and would rather sit comfortably with the security of our current status quo – where things are predictable.

Investing time, energy and the vulnerability to build the trust needed for divergent thinking to take place gets in the way. It takes courageous leadership for people to develop this kind of trust with each other. Put all of this together with the operational urgency most leaders work within and it becomes evident why it is difficult to set aside the thinking time to innovate and even harder to invest in courageous leadership.

This blog is inspired by one of the articles in our latest quarterly insights e-news. Subscribe and receive your copy here.