Leaders have much to gain from a whole-hearted and visible commitment to workplace innovation, even when it challenges deeply embedded practices and belief, perhaps even their own leadership styles. Enhanced productivity and performance against a wide range of indicators, combined with a healthier and more engaged workforce, are prizes worth striving for.
Good leaders seek to unleash every employee’s potential to lead on issues where they have knowledge, experience or ideas. Effective leadership means creating the time and resources for change even when short-term deadlines are pressing. It means embracing experimentation and failure as a key driver for innovation and improvement.
Leaders should also ensure that decisions draw on the widest possible body of knowledge, experience and insight, and that ‘the best argument wins’. When employee voice is recognised and engaged at the strategic level, alongside the types of participative workplace practices described in the previous three Elements, it leads to a system of mutually reinforcing practices, leading to improved information sharing, greater levels of trust, reduced resistance to change and heightened performance.