By Jim Wong, CPA | December 13, 2017

“Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” – Steve Jobs

No matter your profession—whether your focus is accounting, finance or information technology—the qualities seen in great leaders are similar and consistent. This is likely because most leaders have the same end goal – to help their teams achieve success.

In order to stand out, though, a leader must act with creativity. While many leaders can be considered great, it take a unique set of skills to be innovative.

When you think of creative or innovative leaders, often times you look for those who deliver some sort of significant impact within their overall leadership. However, the power of innovation really lies within the small changes in a leader’s everyday routine.

I came across an article by that talks about unique qualities that makes a great leader. I’ve decided to share some of the information along with my own tips in 4 Ways to Become an Innovative Leader below.

1. Offer Transparency 
No matter how experienced a leader may be – they simply can’t do it on their own. It’s important for a leader to trust their team, while creating a culture of complete transparency. Some leaders find it difficult to “take off their mask” when working with their team, because they don’t want to appear weak, indecisive or fearful. But believe it or not, teams look up to leaders more when they provide transparency and express 100 percent authenticity – revealing their flaws, fears and passion.

2. Anticipate Failures
Let’s face it – mistakes happen and failure is often inevitable. A leader is constantly tested by the many challenges that arise day in and day out, but how they overcome them is the true test of strength and stoicism. The best way for leaders to use innovation when managing mistakes is to train their minds to think critically before a slip-up happens. A leader should consider the worst-case scenarios when a problem appears, along with the least helpful instinctual responses. This will ultimately help prevent impulsive decision-making or emotional reactions for when a real issue arises.

3. Maintain Positivity 
There’s a slight distinction between maintaining a positive attitude and creating a positive environment. Maintaining a positive mindset is an individual importance, but it takes an innovative and confident leader to generate a positive environment for everyone around them. The key to fueling positivity into a workspace is to be open to motivating the team and encouraging them to support and inspire each other.

4. Show Accountability 
It’s easy to place blame rather than to hold yourself accountable – especially when in a position of power. That’s why an innovative leader in the workplace must make accountability a core part of its culture. Without accountability teams lack communication, timeliness, efficiency and overall motivation. Holding one’s self accountable should be a value lived out every day and a normal way of productivity. An innovative leader should encourage teams to look deeper into the meaning of accountability – talk about it, understand the different meanings of it in the workplace and help individuals set goals to help them become more reliable.

What are some other ways to become an innovative leader? Comment below and let us know!

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