What makes a leader innovative?



Many firms would like their managers – and therefore their teams – to be more cutting-edge. But what does being innovative in a company exactly mean? A research carried out by the Harvard Business Review has highlighted 10 different traits that better represent the profile of the ultimate innovative leader, here they are:

Innovative leaders display an outstanding strategic view of the market, they perfectly know what they are aiming at and where the company is going.
They have a customer-orientated approach because they have done their best to look at things from their clients’ point of view in order to better cater for their needs and wishes.
They are able to establish mutually trusting bonds with their collaborators and customers. Innovation often requires a great deal of risk-taking and not all cutting-edge ideas are successful, but truly innovative leaders through their trusting relationships are seen as a point of reference on which everyone involved can rely.
They operate loyally without being afraid of doing what’s right for the company and their customers.
They strongly believe in communication and are always on the lookout for new ways to establish channels that enable communication at all levels.
They know how to be convincing and have a predisposition for accepting other people’s good suggestions. They don’t impose their point of view but present their ideas with enthusiasm while involving the team.
They are very good at setting goals that will enable the team to reach new solutions.
They appreciate speed, choosing fast experimentations and prototypes over time-consuming studies and intricate presentations.
Their communications are transparent and their teams can always count on a direct relationship with their manager.
They inspire and motivate the team through their own actions.

Obviously there are many other characteristics that could define a successful and innovative leader, yet the ability to gain trust, experiment and be transparent are definitely among the most important ones.