Innovation is the driving force for most successful businesses. If you rest on your laurels and lean heavily on convention, your company is never going to grow—and in fact, it may become stagnant.
As a leader, part of your job is coming up with new perspectives and forward-thinking ideas. Even more importantly, is your willingness to consider ideas from your team, and to create an environment in which people feel comfortable brainstorming, thinking out loud, and trying new ways of doing things.
The question is, are you doing what is needed to nurture this culture?
Building a Culture That Welcomes New Ideas
Allow people to make mistakes. If there’s no room for error then there can be no room for innovation. Your team members need to feel like they can take big swings and not be penalized if things don’t quite work the way they planned. Instead of berating employees for failed efforts, commend them for trying—and help them figure out what went wrong and what can be learned from the experience.
Let people disagree. Nobody likes tension in the workplace, but sometimes there can be value in letting a couple of your employees debate the merits of particular ideas. Allow your team members to sharpen one another and have productive conflict. Give them space to bounce ideas off one another, without feeling like you have to rush in and play the role of peacemaker.
Have an open-door policy. Simple: Let your employees see that they can come talk with you individually any time they have an idea. Welcome their feedback, and give them a space to share ideas away from the larger group.
Ask for input. Again, it sounds simple, but you’d be amazed by how few leaders actually ask their employees for feedback and for ideas. Always be vocal in saying that you want to hear from the team. And, when you hear a new idea, listen with an open mind. That doesn’t mean you have to act on it, but at least show it some respect.
Embrace Ideas from Your Team
The most successful companies are the ones that embrace new ideas. Your team members probably have a lot of those—but are you receptive to them? Make sure your culture is one that rewards innovation and creativity.
We’d love to talk with you more about ways in which you can welcome new ideas at your company. Reach out to Loeb Leadership Development Group and let’s talk together about team- and culture-building!