Leaders who are intense about their own development and who create accountability and offer support for the ongoing development of their teams and peers create, perhaps without even knowing it, a culture of innovation.
Why is this so?
Intensity about development means one is willing to take an honest look at oneself, see the good and the bad from a perspective of appreciation and empathy and decide to do something about it. This is a distinctly humanizing act and if others see this and have a chance to participate in the leader’s development “conversation” they are more likely to see the leader as fully human (check out the Johari Window). If that’s the case they are a heck of a lot more likely to be open with ideas, suggestions and possibilities. They might even give more of their discretionary effort, that part of ourselves we choose to give or not give to our work depending on how safe and open the leader has made the environment. If it’s safe and open more gets discussed, put on the table, debated and explored. That’s a culture of innovation.
So, what does this mean for our organizations?
It means that we must offer professional coaching, leadership and management development opportunities because we believe – perhaps more boldly, we know – that if more leaders, those with direct responsibility for creating the environment, are more actively pursuing development, more good stuff happens. And, in this equation, more good stuff equals more employees offering more of their best selves to the company every day.