6 Ways to Encourage Employee Innovation

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Have you ever worked in an organization where a new rule was instituted every time a problem occurred? Mistakes were not tolerated and new ways of doing things were discouraged? Or maybe, you’ve worked in an organization where mistakes/failures were never discussed for fear of being perceived as focusing on the negative.

Both situations are equally frustrating and have dire consequences for organizations. We learn our biggest lessons from our failures, not our successes. Wise leaders understand this and encourage employees to take the initiative to try new things within reason. Growth comes from change, and change requires trying new approaches and looking at problems/opportunities in a different light.

Following are six ways to encourage change and innovation within your organization:

1.  Lead by example, take risks and demonstrate that it’s ok to fail.

2.  Encourage employees to try new things and take risks. Provide guidelines with parameters and a means of measuring results. Stand ready to support them if they need assistance.

3.  Encourage creativity and allow employees the freedom to challenge authority and the status quo.

4.  Don’t discount new ideas.

5.  Recognize and reward best efforts even if they fail.

6.  Debrief and evaluate results.  Identify things that worked well. Determine how things could be improved next time. Identify lessons learned. 

It is especially important during times of uncertainty that leaders create an environment that encourages change.  By using the steps above, you can turn the challenges of today into the opportunities of tomorrow.

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