5 Habits of Innovative Leaders

If you want to be a more effective leader, you have to become a more innovative leader.

Along the journey of every team, business, or church you’re going to hit walls and barriers that will attempt to stop the forward movement of your leadership. At that point you can stop, settle in and maintain what you currently have, or you get creative, problem solve, and lead a new season of innovation so that you and the whole team can move forward.

Great teams don’t just need new and fresh, they also need stable and consistent. That’s why we also need great managers to own and maintain and keep up the latest round of innovations. But if your team is going to continue to advance or if it’s going to move beyond the obstacles than it requires leaders to innovate. Great leaders bring fresh ideas and new ways of doing things to get past the hurdles and propel the team into the next season. Andy Stanley says, “New, always creates momentum.”

You can’t manage your way through barriers, you have to lead through them.

With that in mind, here are five habits and key questions that will help us develop as innovative leaders.

5 Habits of Innovative leaders

1. They believe for more (Vision)
There is a cultivated hunger in innovative leaders to see and believe for more. They drive for all that God has for them personally, and for their church or organization. If you as the leader believe that this is all that you will do, then you’re done. If you’ve felt like you’re in a dry season or slump, it’s time to stir up your vision and do what God said to Abraham, “Lift up your eyes and look beyond where you are.”

2. They lean toward Action
They have a leadership bent that leans more to action than talk. We need planning and strategy, but taking action is what separates the stuck organization from an advancing one. Find ways to mobilize your team and eliminate processes that keep projects in planning/conversation mode for too long. At some point you either execute the plan or cut the plan.

3. They ask why
Leaders that stay fresh and innovative do that because they stay energized with the “why” behind the “what” of what they are doing. Every team, task or church can get stale if we forget the great cause and mission behind what we’re doing. Answering the “WHY” for you and your team will keep you motivated. Without that motivation, you will lack the desire to do what needs to be done to push forward.

4. They take a team approach
All the fresh ideas you need are rarely all in your head. Team, collaboration, and empowerment will throttle the innovation of your team. While the leader drives the process, you’ll limit what you can do if you feel like you have to come up with all of the new ideas. Foster and encourage your team to think new thoughts on their own. If you’re not careful you’ll shut down the innovation of your team if you have all the new thoughts and you never ask for their input.

5. They focus on effectiveness (Ask How can we be more effective?)
I don’t feel like asking how to be “creative” or “innovative” actually creates what we want. I don’t even like asking how to do it different from anyone else, I think the most helpful and driving question is how do we take what we’re called to do and do it the most effective we possibly can. As a leader, ask this yourself the effective question often and teach your team to never settle for the current level of effectiveness, but always push for more. Part of the reason for the push for more is that what’s effective today won’t be tomorrow or next year. So, don’t wait till your methods are ineffective to change.

Effectiveness drives innovation.

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