Business owners are constantly searching for the latest and greatest innovation that can drive sales and launch their company to success. In their efforts to gather fresh ideas, business owners often implement a number of tools, like incentivized innovation programs and specially organized hackathons. And while these tools can certainly be successful, more often than not, the secret to employee innovation is simply having excellent managers over your teams.
Why can a good boss make all the difference when it comes to innovation? Here are just a few ways.
Improving Employee Engagement
Employee engagement is the foundation for all innovation. If your employee is not engaged in or committed to your company, then they won’t feel motivated to come up with ideas to improve the business. While you may be making sincere efforts to drive employee engagement up, that number isn’t really going to improve if you have poor management in place.
In fact, according to a recent study, managers account for as much as 70% of the variance in employee engagement, and that variance is largely responsible for the incredibly low rates of employee engagement. Surveys report that only 30% of workers in the U.S. are engaged in their work, and only 13% are engaged worldwide. So, if you really want to drive up that engagement level so that your employees are motivated to help improve your business, good managers are one of the most important changes you can make.
Creating a Strong Team Dynamic
The majority of great business ideas are not brought to life by a single person. Often, it takes a lot of cooperation and brainstorming to generate a great, innovative idea. And while you may put together organized hackathons and brainstorming sessions, they will do little good if your teams are not working well together.
Having a good manager over each team or department can help to develop a strong team dynamic, encouraging spontaneous and effective brainstorming. When employees are comfortable with one another and work well together, ideas will flow much more easily, and you’ll be more likely to get those business-altering innovations you’re searching for.
Encouraging Open Communication
Oftentimes, employees already have great ideas for how to improve your business, but they’re just not comfortable sharing them with their managers. Bad managers can often feel unapproachable to their team members. Workers might fear that they’ll be shut down or ignored if they try to share their thoughts and ideas with someone who is not an effective manager.
Good managers, however, encourage open communication, so their team members are comfortable approaching them with their ideas. If your business leverages tools like innovation management software to collect business ideas, make sure your managers are following up on every idea that their team members share. This shows workers that their ideas are being received and that they are appreciated, regardless of whether or not the suggestion is implemented.
Helping Team Members Think Creatively
A manager with a poor management style will likely force employees into a very structured means of working and thinking. They focus solely on numbers and end results, which requires employees to put their heads down and become little more than productivity machines. This management style does not encourage creative thinking, which makes it nearly impossible for employees to every come up with great ideas for your business.
But a good manager encourages out-of-the-box thinking and problem-solving. With this type of management, team members can find new ways to get things done, creative solutions to persistent problems, and other innovations to improve your business.
Under good management, your employees can become much more innovative, and your business can reap the benefits.