How to Establish Innovation in the Workplace: Tips for Leaders to Drive Strategic Change in Their Organization

Categories: Advice for Start-ups and Entrepreneurs, Infographics, Recruitment Advice, Trends and Learning

Leadership vs. Management

To most people the terms “leadership” and “management are pretty interchangeable. After all, they both refer to a person who has the responsibility of managing a group of people. However, there’s a big difference between leadership and management—and that difference is in how they approach their duties. Managers simply keep their teams on task and on budget, analyzing performance and following directives from above, but not necessarily investing in the success of their teams. Leaders, on the other hand, take management a step further, motivating and inspiring employees in order to bring out the best in their teams. Nearly 70% of U.S. employees are miserable at work which makes one wonder what exactly is going on with company leadership.

True leadership requires self-awareness and a constant desire to improve and reinvent. Leaders shape the direction of their organizations by allowing employees to have a say in decisions that are made, by trusting them and giving them more opportunities to use their creativity. By offering their teams autonomy and respect, leaders can unlock the greatest potential from their teams, resulting in increased productivity and overall success. Leaders don’t accept the status quo; they work to improve every aspect of the processes, culture, and policies of an organization, facilitating innovation and communication at every level. Managers, on the other hand, are more concerned with maintaining their reputation and following rules without questioning them—they don’t engage employees or allow them to exercise their individual strengths and creativity.

All of this sounds good in theory, but how does true leadership affect the bottom line? Aside from ensuring that innovation and rethinking everyday business processes and policies, managers who possess effective leadership skills propel employee engagement. 71% of employees who thought their managers were recognizing and leveraging their unique skills felt engaged at work—which translates to a better bottom line. Companies with high engagement reported 147% better earnings per share, while low engagement companies saw 2% lower earnings vs. the competition. High turnover is also a consequence of disengaged employees, and is costly for businesses. Organizations with low engagement experienced 65% more turnover and 21% lower productivity.

Companies that want to develop effective leaders need to be willing to invest in managers and trust that they can develop these skills. Using leadership training and establishing clear goals are two important methods for developing managers with true leadership skills. Companies also need to empower their workforce and create values that inspire and energize the workforce. These strategies, when combined can lead to numbers like a 114% increase in sales. What are you waiting for? It’s time to focus on leadership, not management.

To learn more, see the infographic below created by Brandeis University’s Online Master of Science in Project and Program Management.