Innovation is a hot business buzzword. Companies need to be innovative to stay competitive against other brands, to meet customer needs, to attract and retain the best talent. But is innovation necessary for management, or is it restricted to business owners, C-suite executives, creative marketers and product design teams?
Here are two important reasons to cultivate innovation in your career as a manager.
1. Innovative people are good problem solvers.
Innovation is just a way of doing something differently. The reason some of the most successful businesses – whether from an employee culture perspective or sales and revenue perspective – are described as “innovative” is because they don’t stop to get distracted by what other people are doing. They see a need and they work to fix it. Companies like Apple and Tesla don’t ask “Why won’t this work?” Instead they ask “How can we make this work?” and turn difficulty into opportunity. This same trait is extremely valuable in all levels of leadership and can help you manage everything from deadline challenges to interpersonal team relationships with an open mind and positive attitude.
2. Innovation nurtures creativity.
Creativity and curiosity are valuable in any business or industry. They help keep individuals from getting bored and complacent and businesses from getting stagnant. Creativity, fed by an innovative spirit, can help people bring a new perspective to a project or help transform a business process to help a department run more efficiently and effectively.
Managers have the responsibility to supervise work quality, delegate tasks, track project deadlines and keep teams running smoothly and efficiently on the day-to-day operations that make a business work, so it can seem like innovation has no place in the time-honored techniques that make managers successful at meeting their goals. But innovation is important for personal growth, as well as flexible and authentic leadership. Whether it’s reading a new business book every month, joining an art class to push you outside of your comfort zone or going away on an annual inspiring conference, make cultivating innovation a part of your work life.