The Innovative Leader: Skills for Effective Management
Submitted to Dr. Liz Lentz-Hees
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirement for
WED 398 Special Problems
Southern Illinois University
Kirtland AFB, New Mexico
August 17, 2004
It is understood that management, which is defined as the act, manner, or practice of managing, handling, supervision, or control directly affects almost every aspect of the workplace (American Heritage, 2000). An incompetent or careless manager can have a devastating impact on an organization. This incompetent manger can cause and perpetuate decreased employee performance, dissatisfied customers, and poor production. An effective manager will avoid such effects through circumspect consideration and implementation of innovative management strategies. The purpose of this paper is to review and discuss such strategies and to provide a formula for exceptional leadership.
THE INNOVATIVE LEADER: SKILLS FOR EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT
An innovative leader is an effective manager, and an effective manager is an innovative leader: an ingenious, inventive, and original leader, one who is not afraid to embrace new concepts or reconsider old practices. An innovative leader differs from other managers due to his or her extraordinary creativity, enthusiasm, confidence in subordinates, and innate respect and genuine goodwill for all co-workers. Other managers, who may be content to accept the status quo from the subordinates and organization for which he or she is responsible, become unacceptable to a business (Smith, 2003). These managers cannot compare to the innovative leader, who goes above and beyond to utilize the competencies of staff and to improve the organization. Are you an innovative leader? Let's explore the skills of an effective manager, and find out.
There are a plethora of skills that are necessary for effective management (Humphrey & Stokes, 2000), and there are just as many guidelines and principles that lend themselves to the advancement of admirable leadership. Many of these will be familiar, while others may be more obscure, but it is, arguably, the most valuable of the many management and leadership precepts that this composition will address. Communication, which is simply the practice of accurately imparting one's thoughts and ideas, is the most prevalent and relevant skill in any organization, and as such, must be established prior to any other managerial actions (American Heritage, 2000). Findley and Amsler (2003) note that the vast majority of performance problems that supervisors experience can be prevented or eliminated by setting and communicating expectations appropriately. Indeed, communication skills are the most basic prerequisite for any manager's success. Another primary skill is that of directing personnel appropriately. Leaders must maintain a good rapport and actively listen to subordinates to ensure mutual trust and respect, and to ensure that no managerial shortcomings impede employees' willingness to promptly and accurately respond to direction. Employees' responsiveness to leaders' direction is closely associated with workplace morale, another important responsibility of the innovative leader. Managers must ensure that the team or group for whom they are accountable maintain a positive and spirited approach to the "daily grind." As difficult as it may be, managers must avoid mistakes such as passing on their stress to their staff, and blaming external factors, such as upper management or the business climate, if morale is low (Gish, 2003). Finally, strategic solutions for common mistakes, such as the preceding, will be addressed, completing the overview of the skills and capabilities of innovative leaders.
Data for this paper was compiled from various sources, including Southern Illinois University's Morris Library Web page and the Society for Human...