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How Good Leadership Can Impact Employees’ Innovative Behavior

Impact Employees Innovative Behavior

There’s increasing pressure on organizations to be more competitive, and leaders need to have the right skills to influence employees’ innovative behavior.

GOOD LEADERSHIP is an important element in the success of any organization. Having effective leaders can help a company achieve its goals and maximize efficiency. In most cases, leaders have a profound influence on their employees. Besides helping them better handle workplace-related challenges, leaders evoke innovation and creativity and inspire them to reach their full potential.

There’s been a lot of debate on whether leadership skills can be acquired in life or the person must be born with them. The answer is both. There are some people who seem to be born with great leadership skills, as well as those who developed them later in life. To encourage employees to become more innovative, leaders need to pay attention to a number of issues.

Employee Motivation Leads to Better Decision-Making

What can be increasingly hard for modern businesses is keeping employees motivated. A common trend among younger workers is switching jobs, and this is becoming a serious issue in the modern workplace. The generation that’s been criticized the most for being unattached to their organizations and their willingness to move from one job to another, are millennials. According to the analytics and advisory company Gallup, 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year. The main reason why the millennial workforce is so keen to switch jobs lies in their low engagement. Gallup reveals that 55% of millennials are not engaged at work. They don’t want to settle for less, and if they don’t get what they need and expect from their workplace, millennials will be more than happy to leave for a better opportunity. This creates a challenge for leaders who need to be very innovative to motivate this young workforce to stay.

To motivate their employees, leaders first need to understand what drives them. During the hiring process, leaders can ask deeper questions to get a better sense of the strategies and techniques they could use to improve employees’ motivation and performance. Another effective way to make workers motivated is to give them the freedom of choice. This topic has sparked the interest of a professor of psychology, Edward Deci, who spent 20 years researching the field, and who discovered that “meaningful choice engenders willingness”. This will not only result in better decisions, but also increase the level of employee innovation. A study that analyzed innovative work behavior among service providers in Oman supports this claim. Based on responses from 320 employees, the study shows that employee motivation is a powerful tool to “mediate the relationship among leadership and employees innovative work behavior.”

The Importance of Recognition

Employee recognition also plays an important role in engagement. When employees get praised for their work and performance, they’re more likely to continue repeating that same behavior. Despite this, many managers and leaders make the same mistake. According to a survey conducted by the employee engagement platform Achievers, 43% of respondents say their managers are OK in giving recognition, while one in five admit their managers are horrible in giving proper recognition. Half of the respondents believe being recognized for their hard work has helped them improve their relationship with their bosses.

Though companies usually offer perks and benefits to keep their employees happy, giving someone recognition for their hard work isn’t just about physical rewards. In fact, recognition is more about acknowledging employees for their contributions to the business.

Creating a Culture of Transparency

Besides employee recognition, what’s fundamental to business success is ensuring trust and transparency within the organization. Leaders who are more open and honest with their teams will empower employees to openly speak about issues that are affecting their performance. If there’s no trust within the organization, teams won’t feel engaged, and they’ll be less likely to take risks to solve specific problems. However, in a transparent and healthy environment that empowers employees to experiment, they’re more likely to succeed. Transparency will encourage collaboration among team members and make their work less stressful, because in a transparent work environment, they aren’t afraid to express their opinions. Meanwhile, if they’re constantly live in fear of being penalized for an error, they’ll be less proactive and won’t be able to think creatively.

Final Thoughts

The nature of work is changing, and organizations today are more agile and less hierarchical in structure than in the past. The role of leaders is about to change as well. Since there’s increasing pressure on organizations to be more innovative, leaders will need to find ways to influence employee innovation and improve their performance. Without the right leadership skills, this isn’t possible.

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Leading Forum
Trendwatcher, futurist and international keynote speaker Richard van Hooijdonk takes you to an inspiring future that will dramatically change the way we live, work and do business. His inspiration sessions have been attended by over 420,000 people. Richard is a regular guest at radio and television programs. With his international research team, he investigates tech trends like robotics, drone technology, autonomous transport systems, Internet of Things, virtual reality, biotech, nanotech, neurotech, blockchain, 3D and 4D printing and of course augmented and virtual reality and their impact on various industries. Findings are published weekly in the form of compelling articles, e-books and white papers.

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