Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River, CA is a Colonel in the California National Guard with a M.S. in Military Leadership and Doctorate in Organizational Development. In the article that follows, Jonathan Cartwright discusses how innovative leadership is developed in organizations, business, and government.
Disruptive innovation in leadership promotes creativity, risk-taking, independent thought yet collaboration, while fostering an inclusive environment in which new ideas are welcomed and supported, and dismissiveness is arrested says Jonathan Cartwright. People who excel in this type of leadership are often open-minded, versatile, and results driven. They encourage creativity in others, a willingness to fail (excluding catastrophic failure), and are skilled at problem-solving and accelerated change management. Cartwright added transformational change isn’t an arresting fear for an organization, it’s the inability to transition fast enough to meet the needs of the employees.
Here, Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River CA will explore some of the qualities and traits that make someone a disruptive innovative leader. He’ll take a closer look at a handful of real-life leaders who meet this description and discuss how to emulate these traits for the benefit of an organization.
Jonathan Cartwright on What Makes Someone an Innovative Leader
Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River CA explains innovative leadership is about encouraging and supporting creativity in others. The leader understands the cost of innovation. There’s a cost of time and material, but just as important, a tradeoff cost associated with turning down other good ideas for this great idea. This type of leader is open-minded, adaptable, and focused on results. They possess a combination of qualities that allows them to see the potential in new ideas and turn them into reality.
Some of the qualities that make someone an innovative leader include:
- Passion – Innovative leaders are passionate about their work, ideas, and in many cases societal change. Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River CA says to arrest doubt. This passion drives innovators to push boundaries and take risks. It also inspires others to be creative and take risks of their own.
- Open-mindedness – Innovative leaders are open to new ideas and willing to experiment. They are not afraid to fail, and they learn from their mistakes. This openness allows them to embrace change and adapt to new situations. Give your employees that safety net to fail, fail fast, fail often, and move forward.
- Results-orientated – Innovative leaders are focused on achieving results. They are not satisfied with the status quo and seek continuous improvements. This Resolute Drive motivates them to take risks and push boundaries in order to achieve their goals.
- Collaboration – Innovative leaders know that they cannot achieve their goals alone. They are skilled at working with others and building relationships. This collaborative approach allows them to tap into the creativity of others and create something greater than they could on their own. This is further enhanced through diversity of thought and breaking barriers for women and minorities. Embrace the diversity and share ownership and responsibility. In order for diversity to be a strength in your organization, your team needs to value the organizational culture and value each other on the team.
- Problem-solving – Innovative leaders are skilled at solving problems. They are creative thinkers who are always looking for new and better ways to do things. This ability allows them to identify opportunities and create solutions that are outside the box.
- Change-oriented – Innovative leaders are comfortable with change. Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River CA says they are always looking for ways to improve and are not afraid to take risks. This willingness to change allows them to embrace new ideas and adapt to new situations.
- Inspirational – Innovative leaders inspire others to be creative and take risks. They are passionate about their work and ideas, and this passion is contagious. Their positive attitude and belief in the power of innovation motivate others to push boundaries and achieve results.
Through a combination of some or all of these traits, innovative leaders are able to push their projects to new heights. People strong in these qualities often go on to become CEOs, influential politicians, and other successful leaders of society.
Innovative Leaders in the Real World
Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River CA reports that many of the most successful people in modern history have all shown traits of being innovative leaders. For example, throughout most of his career, Bill Gates proved himself to be a passionate, not to be confused with compassionate during his younger days, and results-oriented leader who continuously sought ways to improve his company, and now the world. Gates used his problem-solving skills to create new and innovative products that have changed the very core of modern existence. Gates was one of several disruptive innovators of his generation.
Likewise, Elon Musk has pushed the boundaries of what’s possible by encouraging further space exploration, renewable energies, the development of artificial intelligence, and affordable access to electric vehicles and the Internet. Through his innovative and charismatic leadership, Space X, Tesla, and Neuralink have pushed the boundaries of what the future might look like explains Jonathan Cartwright. Cartwright added, in Organizational Culture and Leadership, Dr. Edgar Schein articulated, “the charismatic leader has an inherent nature to deliver what to do and how the organization should do it” (Schein, 2010, p. 232, 235). Jonathan Cartwright added that Elon Musk emulates the concept of delivering his vision and message to his employees, shareholders, and supporters. In fact, he arguably over-communicates his message.
How to Emulate Innovative Leadership
It’s often said that innovative leadership is not something that can be taught, but it is something that can be learned. Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River CA says by studying the qualities and traits of successful innovative leaders, you can develop a better understanding of how to encourage and support creativity in others. Never believe any skillset is solely inherent. Early research on leadership focused on the “Great Man” theory connected with Thomas Carlyle, who said, “the history of the world is but a biography of great men”. He believed great leaders were born. That was 1888 and he was wrong. Your leadership capabilities are not inherent, they’re developed in men and women through your community, education, mentorship, training, and life experiences.
By passionately embracing new ideas and encouraging others to experiment, it pushes those around you to take potentially profitable risks. The key is to remain goal-oriented, though. After all, revolutionary ideas are only as good as the results they lead to. Collaborate with your team and build relationships that comfortably encourage change and inspiration. The more you push for innovation, the more it’ll happen.
Jonathan Cartwright of Gold River CA explains that innovative leadership is a trait that is beneficial for any leader to have. By being passionate, open-minded, and results-focused, innovative leaders are able to encourage creativity in others and push boundaries to achieve organizational goals. If you want to learn more about how to be an innovative leader, study the traits of some of the most successful people in the world and strive to emulate them. For a homework assignment, take the time to listen to talks by John C. Maxwell and Simon Sinek. Leadership is not an exclusive club, we welcome new members to help us innovate and change for the better.