Leading Through Innovation

To encourage innovation, young professionals must forget what they know about being a leader. Recent research suggests that conventional leadership is counterproductive to innovation, and in a quickly developing marketplace, innovation is key. Instead of utilizing only safe, traditional leadership practices, many young leaders are finding that a mix of conventional and unorthodox techniques is a key ingredient of progress.

Below, we list techniques that combine existing leadership knowledge with innovative business practices to create a progressive workplace.

Take necessary risks.

No leader should gamble with their own success, or the success of their company or staff, but innovative leadership requires more risk-taking than old-fashioned business wisdom allows. Traditionally, Asians are seen as less likely to take risks than their Caucasian counterparts, but that is quickly changing. If a young professional is willing to take chances, they will find new, unique avenues of success that can dramatically increase their company’s momentum. There may be failures along the way, but to remain a leader of their industry, that’s a necessary risk. naisA Global pairs Asian professionals with experienced mentors who can help navigate these new and exciting opportunities.

Accept success and failure, but not inaction.

Even the best professionals will fail. It’s inevitable. But the very next week, that same person may turn around with a smashing success. Successful leaders will accept both at face value. What they shouldn’t accept, however, is complacency. They must be proactive and take the initiative. Their team will follow.

Encourage individuality.

The corporate world is no longer about creating cookie-cutter replicas of past and present employees. Leaders don’t want to fit the mold; they want to challenge and exceed the expectations of your company. New ideas may come from the most unexpected places, so they should listen when members of their team express their unique opinions and experiences. A good listener is a good leader.

Sacrifice some good ideas.

The phrase “kill your darlings” can ring especially true in business. To be a truly innovative leader, one might have to postpone or abandon ideas that have been their “pet projects” for weeks or months (or even years). If it isn’t as successful as they hoped, they should move on to other projects. Young professionals may find that ideas they once overlooked are the most successful in practice.

Following these tips will help you create a more advanced, innovative workplace that responds to changes in our culture and marketplace. At naisA Global, we believe that innovation is the key to success. As a global non-profit, we help young Asian professionals achieve – and surpass – their business goals by implementing innovative systems across all industries.

naisA Global is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization dedicated to helping talented young Asian professionals unlock their potential and become great leaders.