In order to change your employee’s behavior, your behavior should change as the manager. I am a strong believer of “Lead by example”. And hence, in this blog post, I will provide you with few tips on modifying your behavior to encourage innovation in your team.
Listen to your employees: Listening intently to your people is sometimes the most sincere compliment you can give to them. By listening to them, you are signaling them that their feedback is very important to you, and you are willing to experiment with their ideas. This behavior will not only accelerate innovation in your team, but it will also give you some insights that you might otherwise miss. I know, it is very difficult to listen to someone, when you don’t agree with them. I would suggest you to note down those disagreements in your notepad or OneNote, while having these conversations. By doing this, you can clearly understand their viewpoint, and still be able to address your disagreements after they are done talking.
Withhold judgment: You can’t cultivate a team of innovators without cultivating your trust relationship with them. Your employees will stop coming to you with their ideas, if you hold their poor performance in their past projects against this new idea. Listening with an open mind will encourage your people to generate and evaluate their own solutions. So, next time when you hear a new idea from a poor performer, keep an open mind. First listen to his/her idea before neglecting it. Even if you don’t agree with their idea, disagree respectfully by clearly laying out your concerns. In this way, they can understand the clear reasoning behind your decision, instead of making up some story of their own regarding this rejection.
Ask questions: While listening to your employee’s ideas, make sure to ask lot of questions. Asking appropriate and effective questions will typically result in less defensiveness and resistance from them. These questions will not only give you an opportunity to understand their idea better, but it will also provide them an opportunity to reassess their idea from a different perspective. And make sure to take longer pause, while asking this questions. This behavior will provide your employee with some time to respond, and it will help you to show them you are listening to their input.
Embrace failures: Obviously, with highly innovative projects, your frequency of failures will increase. After all, not every innovation will work out, and give you positive results. Right? During these situations, you need to embrace your failures. I would recommend you to have a post project meeting to address these concerns for the future projects. During this meeting, you need to ask your employees some questions like……”What have you tried?”, “What worked?”, “What have you learned so far?”, “What would they do differently next time?”, etc. These questions will not only give you the perspective for the failure, but it will force your employees to rethink their strategies for the future innovations. I am sure, this self-realization will help them in the future. And hopefully, they won’t come to you with their ideas, unless they find out a way to deal with these concerns in their future projects.
By encompassing above changes in your behavior, you won’t be just improving the trust relationship with your employees, but you will be encouraging them to think on their own to become better innovators. So……..what else would you modify in your behavior to encourage innovation in your team?
Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi.