Often teams are formed to improve a business process which requires innovation. So how do you create an environment conducive to new ideas being brought to the table? Part of the solution is to get good ideas from the team and the other part of it is to nurture innovators.
As a team leader it is critical for you to be on the lookout for the innovators on your team. Some people have a natural tendency to look for new solutions; they will challenge the status quo in the quest for improvement. Here are some things you can do to help keep these team members engaged and innovating:
- Give them room to work. Innovators often want to be given a direction and then have the boss get out of their way. Let them go and see where it takes the team. Regular checks can make sure resources are being used appropriately, but they need room to move.
- Remove obstacles. Often innovators get discouraged because there are so many roadblocks to change. As the team leader your job is to help clear their path.
- Provide resources. When your innovators have ideas or things to be tested or prototyped, provide them with the resources to prove out their ideas. These resources have to be done within the limitations of the business, and yet it is critical to allow innovators to demonstrate their ideas.
- Encourage new thinking. As a team leader you are responsible for getting ideas from the team and being open to new ways and at times radical thinking is critical to nurturing innovation.
Businesses grow and prosper when they are innovating and finding new ways of doing business. To keep that growth happening all organizations need innovators, those people who are willing to step up and say “What if?” Encourage this behavior on your team and you will be nurturing the future of your company.
How do you nurture innovation within your organization?
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