Innovative Leadership: Strategies, Skills And Key Steps

In the modern world, people have become creative and innovative, the way of thinking has changed, and the competition has increased at a higher level.

In this case, organizations and leaders must apply the most effective and appealing strategy to increase creativity, productivity, and collaboration among their peers.

The leaders must use innovation and creativity in their leadership to stand out from other brands and enterprises.

Here comes the need and importance of understanding innovative leadership. Innovative leadership is a methodology of leading and managing organizations with creativity and innovation.

Table of Contents

What To Know About Innovative Leadership?

Innovative leaders do not just stick to a single method or action plan. They try different styles and approaches to enhance creativity and innovation in their employees.

Innovative leadership is an ideology of combining different leadership styles to increase innovation, productivity, and employment efficiency.

This method of leadership involves creative thinking. It focuses on developing its employees’ skills and increasing the organization’s innovation performance.

This leadership approach believes in the willingness to accept different concepts and approaches.

Traditional leadership is based on the principle of obedience and authority, which can be an obstacle to creativity and innovation.

On the other hand, innovative leadership goes beyond this doctrine and encourages creative thinking and new ideas from various dimensions. They encourage creativity through different approaches and ways that were never applied before.

Qualities Of An Innovative Leader

Innovative leadership inspires and encourages creative thinking and effort to increase the company’s innovation performance.

Innovative leaders must have certain qualities defining creativity to effectively implement innovative leadership. Let’s discuss some most profound qualities below:

Possess High Communication Skills

Innovative leaders possess strong communication skills where they listen to their employees carefully and accept their ideas and opinions.

They can communicate in all directions and make sure everyone is aware and involved in the communication. They also clearly explain their visions and inspire their team to follow their strategies and visions properly.


Imagination plays an important role in innovative leadership. The leaders can imagine and farsight the results before taking action to reach them.

Moreover, they can also imagine new ideas and creativity and produce amazing outcomes through their imagination. Leaders who have the power of imagination have a far broader view compared to the ones who are not imaginary.

Willingness to Embrace Opportunities

Since innovative leadership is all about creativity and innovation, leaders are willing to embrace different ideas and opportunities.

This keeps the leader’s mind open and allows new opportunities to come their way. They are ready to explore and try out different ideas and strategies and don’t block opportunities. They visualize ideas and concepts on a larger scale rather than getting stuck with minutes.


Being empathetic refines the workplace atmosphere and establishes an understanding and communication between the leaders and employees. Empathy is one of the fundamental elements of modern emerging leadership methods.

But, in the context of innovative leadership, empathy refers to the ability to understand employees’ ideas, allow them to take the initiative, give them opportunities, and provide resources that can help enhance their creativity and innovation.

This attribute increases organizational productivity and builds strong human resources for the organization.

Creative Brainstorming

Brainstorming helps people create innovative ideas and come up with inventive concepts. The leaders need to conduct sessions for brainstorming where they can discuss creative ideas with their employees.

They can also organize workshops to develop their employees’ creativity and boost their cognitive function.


Innovative leaders are efficient and work hard, paying attention to their goals and objectives. They also inspire their team members to work hard to achieve their objectives.

They do their best to guide and provide resources to their employees so they can work harder without any adversity.


Since outstanding results come up through creativity, innovative leaders make choices creatively and provide solutions in the way they were done before.

They inspire themselves and their employees to explore different perspectives and discuss them together for their improvement. They also provide resources and guidance on enhancing creativity in thinking and performance.

Welcome and Provide Feedback

Innovative leaders provide truthful and genuine feedback to their employees and receive feedback from them.

They arrange to gather feedback regarding ideas, concepts, and different imaginations. The leaders value everybody’s feedback in the group, even if it does not seem relevant at first sight.

Know What Risks Are Worth Taking

Although innovative leadership promotes creativity and innovation, free-flowing with creative and innovative ideas brings risk.

Hence, leaders functioning their leadership based on creativity suffer a lot of risk and hassle. Therefore, innovative leaders can assess all angles carefully and make the best choices through their farsightedness.

However, they believe that certain risks create different sorts of opportunities. In short, they can balance the situation through their experience.

Pay Attention to the Details

Innovative leaders pay attention to details believing that even the tiniest detail matters to functioning based on creativity.

They understand that small steps themselves make a big change and generate a great idea in the end. If a small but important step is missed, the whole resources and functioning can lead to suffocation.

That’s why they know every piece of information shared in the group. They are task-oriented, time-driven, and accountable for achieving their objectives.

Avoid Dullness

Being restrictive and dull can stop creativity and innovation. The innovative leaders are active and vibrant and emphasize their employees upgrading their information.

They guide employees to keep generating innovative ideas and finding different perspectives so they can have plenty of resources to help.


Innovative leaders promote collaboration among team members who are from different backgrounds. Creativity and innovation only happen when people from different backgrounds share their knowledge, ideas, and experience.

They make innovation by combining different ideas from different backgrounds that can be helpful to the organization. Though this can also create conflicts among the members, leaders resolve them through their social skills.

Promote Innovation Culture

Innovative leaders consider innovation as an attitude of thinking innovatively. They make an effort to cultivate innovation in the team.

They promote a culture of innovation in everybody regardless of color, race, background, and region.

Because they believe that the best innovation comes from organizations containing people from several backgrounds, the organization and employees can benefit from this attitude by adding value through innovation.

Innovative Leadership Skills

If you want to become an innovative leader, you can develop some skills that define you as an innovative leader. Let’s look at some important skills necessary to become an innovative leader:

Acquire a Learning and Growing Attitude

Creativity and innovation directly connect with learning new skills and acquiring knowledge. To become an innovative leader, increase your creativity and cognition by acquiring new skills and knowledge.

Knowledge plays a very important role in developing one’s mindset. It opens your mind and lets you think out of the box.

Study Innovative Leaders

Studying biographies of successful innovative leaders boosts confidence and allows you to learn from their experience.

Therefore, try to find out the key traits that every successful innovative leader possesses. You can use those traits and ideas as an innovative leader.

Find Out Ways to Improve Upon Current Concepts

Innovation is not the same as inventions. So, you can also develop and improve on concepts that are already existing before.

Innovation is not about coming up with new inventions all the time; it is about presenting ideas differently in a way that has never been done before.

For example, Steve Jobs did not invent the telephone; rather, he changed the way it was before and filled it with innovation for the common benefit.

Set Manageable Goals

Setting goals and targets is an essential part of leadership. Leaders select goals and make a plan of action to achieve those goals.

But these goals must be practical, achievable, clear, and easy to manage. There is no point in setting an impractical goal that can not be followed. The goal should motivate you and your team members to strive.

Find Your Passion

Your passion can become one of the main sources of creativity and innovation. A leader or a group can not motivate themselves and follow goals just for financial gain. If a leader has his passion and inspires their employees with it, the employees put their hearts into the work.

This exerts creativity and innovation among the people in the community. You think more creatively and find different perspectives to fulfill your passion.

Develop Adaptability

Innovation and adaptability run parallel in the field of leadership. An innovative method of leadership is all about change, different ideas, and different innovations.

When a leader makes his mind adaptable to different ideas and perspectives, he can exhibit amazing creativity in his leadership and performance.

All new ideas can not possibly match the leader’s temperament. Still, the leader must be willing to adapt to different circumstances to be successful.

Will Power

This is a common fact that everybody doesn’t get successful as soon as he/she starts a journey.

Especially in the case of innovative leadership, leaders may face risks and difficulties in between. But what makes them successful is their willpower and eagerness to fulfill their objectives.

Innovative Leadership Strategies

Innovative leadership develops when executive leaders allow creativity and innovation in the organization.

Leaders must be tolerant and open-minded to increase innovation. Along with this, there are other strategies leaders can implement to promote an innovative management style in the organization.

Let’s look at some of those strategies:

Ensure Psychological Safety Within the Working Community

Employees who are free from psychological hazards that might come through sharing their opinions and ideas tend to be more creative. Leaders need to allow employees to take steps and risk themselves with their creative minds.

Leaders should create space for mistakes as they are part of the learning process. The leaders should create an environment where employees feel more safe and independent in thinking creatively and delivering in the working community.

Develop Effective Communication

As discussed above, communication is the central skill for achieving any greater objective, and so as with innovation.

The leader should create a fearless platform for communicating with each other. If there are conflicts, they should resolve them and remove communication gaps between the employees.

Foster an Environment of Diversity

People from different backgrounds, mindsets, and ideas come up with diversified thinking and opinions, leading to innovation.

Even if somebody disagrees, there should be healthy arguments among the members. This generates different perspectives and methods. Because creative and healthy conflicts between peers can help assess the outcomes of the concepts in real life.

Collective Performance

The leaders should promote a culture of collective growth and performance in the team. The teamwork culture helps everyone discover their strengths and weaknesses by observing one another.

They can collectively discuss their work, find new ways, and try to test them together. This develops confidence in taking risks with different styles and promotes innovation.

Develop a Clear Vision

A clear vision will be the central element of all the steps, ideas, and efforts people make in their journey.

Therefore, leaders should share clear visions with their employees. Based on the vision, employees can work hard, find out different aspects, and try different methods of accomplishing their vision.

Create an Innovative Strategy

Leaders must create an effective, ambitious, and attractive strategy to follow their goals and objectives.

The strategy of working should not be narrow-minded. It should allow employees to put their innovation into the work and contribute from their ideas.

The whole strategy should be based on creativity and innovation.

Stimulate Innovation within the Workplace

Leaders should inspire their employees to come up with innovative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking.

They should reward their employees once they accomplish positive results through their innovation. This encourages them to share their creativity and develop innovative thinking.

Establish an Innovative Mindset

An innovative mindset is also a tolerant and open mindset. The employees should develop an innovative mindset, which should exhibit in the working style, process, thoughts, and perseverance.

Leaders should teach employees to overcome barriers and generate disruptive products, processes, and services. They can also provide resources and guide them eventually to develop a positive and innovative mindset which is like an asset for the organization.

Do not Innovation Project Yourself

The circle of innovation does not stick to one person. The process and benefits of innovation cannot be attained alone. Innovation happens when you let your team members take the lead and find solutions themselves.

Effective, innovative leaders collaborate with their employees and motivate them to participate actively in the group.

Manage External Dependencies

There are a lot of side hassles involved in the process of innovative leadership, from borrowing assets from external parties to asking for help from organizational management.

The team leaders should take care of these affairs to benefit their team members and increase innovation performance.

Improve Team’s Innovation Skillset

The leaders should also make arrangements to improve their employees’ innovation skill sets. Leaders should provide innovation skill training to their employees to enhance innovation performance.

They can also conduct workshops and programs or launch a working dinner where they discuss and learn innovation skills.

Provide Innovation Tools

There are different tools necessary to make innovations. It depends on the goals, work culture, and people within the working community.

The leaders should identify what tools they can use to improve innovation and make them available to their employees.

Get rid of Fuzziness.

Creativity and innovation do not mean including Fuzziness in the work process. The innovation practice must be based on the six steps that all must follow under the innovation framework.

These six steps are observation, ideation, rapid prototyping, user feedback, iteration, and implementation.

Establish a Uniform Way of Working

The leaders must include everybody in the work process from start to end.

They should make sure everybody contributes and has his share in the innovation performance of the team.

Six Key Steps of Innovation Framework

Managing organizations based on innovation, designing creative thinking, and improving innovative problem-solving abilities includes six well-defined steps.

These six steps are generating ideas, capturing ideas, beginning innovation, developing a business-effectiveness strategy, applying business improvement, and declining. Let’s look at each one of them in detail:

Generating Ideas

Generating innovative ideas is the first step in the process of innovation. Ideas become innovations when implemented effectively and become successful.

Leaders should motivate employees to ask questions regarding themselves, the process, products and services, and the goals that they’re dreaming of accomplishing.

Many ideas and innovations are the results of inclusive and associative thinking. Hence, leaders can start innovation by including everybody to generate ideas collectively.

Capturing Ideas

It is important to keep a record of the ideas that have come up through collective brainstorming. The leaders do not ignore a single idea thinking they are irrelevant to them.

They consider and value each idea and write it down on their tablet or paper.

Beginning Innovation

The leaders review all the ideas involving everyone in the process and make a series of statements of ideas.

They discuss and evaluate the ideas and determine how they can affect the organization, its strategy, and its goals.

Finally, short-list the ideas that can be implemented to increase business potential and productivity. These are the ideas that all the team members agree upon to implement before presenting them to the management for their approval.

Developing a Business-effective Strategy

The implementation of innovative ideas begins here, and the process of making an effective business strategy starts. In this stage, the leaders and the team members sit together to imagine, brainstorm, and discuss how to implement the short-listed ideas effectively to increase productivity and innovation performance.

The team visualizes the strategy and outcomes of their ideas when implemented. They finally derive a conclusion where they finalize the strategy they are going to follow.

Applying Business Improvement

After starting the innovation process, it is important to examine the possible improvements they can apply to their strategy and estimate difficulties in the process.

This includes identifying blockages and barriers in the way of innovation and removing them wisely. They also calculate benefits, costs, support required, and, more importantly, what risks to take.

All these steps are necessary before the team can refine the innovation process. Then they put into action all the improvements needed to withstand innovation.


Leaders should innovate and think beyond the existing strategies to carry out the process of innovation throughout business life.

The innovation strategy that was practiced before no longer remained the innovation. Therefore, leaders should encourage innovation every time they start a new project. This is an idea of declining the previous innovation and finding a new way.

Apart from these six steps, there can also be other steps that innovation experts may have put forth, but these are very important and non-comprisable steps.


Many organizations and enterprises have developed innovative leadership methods nowadays. Instead of other forms of leadership, innovative leadership boosts the performance and productivity of the organization to a great extent.

It allows people to find out different ways and methods of accomplishing their goals and following their passions.

Innovation not only increases the business potential, products, and services but also changes the workplace environment.

It improves the infrastructure of the workplace, increases diversity among the people, provides more independence, and ultimately changes the whole place into a more beautiful and supportive environment.


What is innovative leadership?

Innovative leadership is a leadership style that focuses on fostering creativity, encouraging experimentation and risk-taking, and promoting a culture of innovation within an organization.

Why is innovative leadership important?

Innovative leadership is important because it enables organizations to stay ahead of the competition by developing new products, services, and processes.

It also improves employee engagement, job satisfaction, and organizational outcomes.

What are some key skills for innovative leaders?

Key skills for innovative leaders include creativity, strategic thinking, problem-solving, adaptability, resilience, and collaboration.

What are some common obstacles to innovation in Organizations?

Common obstacles to innovation in organizations include a lack of resources, a risk-averse culture, resistance to change, and a lack of leadership support.

How can leaders promote innovation within their Organization?

Leaders can promote innovation within their organization by creating a culture that encourages experimentation and risk-taking, providing resources and support for innovative projects, and empowering employees to generate and implement new ideas.

Can anyone become an innovative leader?

Yes, anyone can become an innovative leader with the right training, mindset, and support.

It requires a willingness to think outside the box, take calculated risks, and embrace change.

How can I develop my innovative leadership skills?

You can develop your innovative leadership skills by seeking out training and resources on innovation and creative thinking, practicing brainstorming and problem-solving techniques, seeking feedback from your team members, and staying up to date on industry trends and best practices.

More To Explore:

Was this article helpful?