Tony BoldenThe application of innovation and creative leadership requires one to re-evaluate traditional paradigms and business models. Leaders should be careful to dwell on the past as a road-map for the future, particularly because of the unique dynamics of today’s business challenges. Although society has survived past economic downturns, recessions, and depressions, contemporary economic ebbs and flows have proven to be truly unique, and one could suspect that these challenges will become the new normal of the future.

Leaders must be prepared to apply innovation and creativity when developing strategic plans and organizational objectives to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow. If innovative and creative leaders want to engage their followers to meet adaptive challenges, they must:

1. Share leadership through delegation.

Leaders who share leadership & delegate acknowledge the competence, commitment, and confidence of their subordinates and allow them the autonomy necessary to complete their tasks. These leaders empower their skilled subordinates to manage their own performance, especially since the subordinates have vested interests in successful task completion.

2. Establish and promote organizational learning.

The 21st century organization must be a learning organization that partners effectively with stakeholders.  Innovative leaders within learning organizations are more adaptable in recognizing the skills needs of their stakeholders, and they provide opportunities to create learning events (acquiring new skills, remediating gaps in knowledge, conveying information and knowledge internally and externally, and more).

3. Manage by consensus.

The common misnomer is that building-consensus is akin to letting “the inmates run the asylum”, which is patently false. Management by consensus essentially shifts the power from the top and distributes some of it among subordinates.

4. Manage diversity.

True diversity can only be accomplished when innovative leaders look across their enterprises to identify & engage employees with diverse talents, skills, and abilities – not to mention diverse gender, race and sexual orientation classifications.

by Dr. Tony Bolden


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