Meeting Current & Future Challenges with Innovative Leadership

Posted September 22, 2022 | Leadership |
Twisting metal ladder reaching toward sky with metal arrow pointing upwards on top rung

Today’s leaders have a more significant impact on the future than in previous eras. Because we live in a globally interconnected world, decisions and actions increasingly ripple across the world and affect the next generation, especially with regard to issues like climate impact. Unfortunately, too many good people who work hard in leadership roles use skills that have depreciated, or are simply outdated. While most of us wouldn’t think of using a 10-year-old computer, many of us work with leaders who use the same approach they used 10 or even 20 years ago with mediocre results. Organizations must redefine what effective leadership is and elevate the quality of their leaders to meet current and future challenges. Innovative Leadership offers a framework for earnest leaders to advance themselves and their organizations.

What Is Innovative Leadership?

Innovative Leadership originates from the idea that we must regularly innovate how we lead as our organizations change in a continually more complex and faster-paced world. When we talk about innovating leadership in more concrete terms, we look at the latest research, trends, global conditions, and the challenges we face. Then we determine how our individual and organizational leadership must change. As with contin­uous improvement, leaders who follow Innovative Leadership regularly elevate their leadership to meet current and anticipated conditions, challenges, and opportunities. 

Drawing from the book Innovative Leadership for Health Care:

“Innovative Leaders deliver results by blending:

  1. Strategic leadership that inspires individual intentions and goals and organizational vision and culture

  2. Tactical leadership that influences individuals’ actions and the organization’s systems and processes

  3. Holistic leadership that aligns all these dimensions: individual intention and action and organizational culture and systems.”

The Difference

The most effective leaders have always been self-aware. But self-awareness is more important than ever today, and it’s a critical aspect of leader development. It requires internal self-awareness (awareness of our values, personality, style, strengths, biases, etc.) and external self-awareness (how others perceive us).

As management guru Peter Drucker pointed out, Innovative Leaders work with their followers like conductors and musicians in an orchestra. Everyone works together to create the product: music. The music’s quality depends on the cohesiveness, commitment, and coordination of all orchestra or organization members, not just their skill.

The most talented conductors are themselves part of the performance, and they inspire their musicians to produce exceptional performances. Good conductors are technically skilled; brilliant conductors embody the music. The magic happens when the conductor and the musicians merge into one interconnected being — that gestalt touches and captivates the audience.

The best leaders in the world create beautiful results with their teams and organizations, given the proper practice, conditions, frameworks, tools, and followers. This type of performance requires a different focus on leadership than an average one: to be world-class, all contributors must work together every time they perform. This requires an intimate connection with the “self” as the leader as well as trust between team members and followers.

Do you want to become a world-class leader? Are you willing to do the work? Are you ready to help your followers become world-class teams and organizations?   

[For more from the authors on this topic, see: “Innovative Leadership: Leading Post-Pandemic & Beyond.”

About The Author
Erin Barry
Erin S. Barry is Assistant Professor in the Department of Military & Emergency Medicine at Uniformed Services University (USU), where she focuses on traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and healthcare leadership. She is a biomedical and biobehavioral scientist with expertise in research design, planning, logistics, data management, statistical analyses, and assessment. Ms. Barry earned a master of science degree in… Read More
Neil Grunberg
Neil E. Grunberg is Professor of Military & Emergency Medicine, Medical & Clinical Psychology, and Neuroscience in the Health Sciences School of Medicine at Uniformed Services University (USU); Professor in USU’s Graduate School of Nursing; and Director of R&D in USU’s Leader and Leadership Education and Development (LEAD) program. He is a medical psychologist, social psychologist, and behavioral neuroscientist. Dr. Grunberg earned a… Read More
Maureen Metcalf
Maureen Metcalf is the founder and CEO of the Innovative Leadership Institute. She is an expert in anticipating and leveraging future business trends. Ms. Metcalf helps leaders elevate their leadership quality and transform their organizations to create sustainable impact and results. She captures 30 years’ experience and success in an award-winning series of books used by public, private, and academic organizations to align company-wide… Read More
Carla Morelli
Carla Morelli is Managing Director and COO of the Innovative Leadership Institute. She is a versatile leader and trusted advisor who has led, owned, or advised small, middle market, and Fortune 200 companies for more than 25 years. Ms. Morelli has global expertise in strategy, M&As, capability building, and organizational transformation, particularly in challenged settings. Her work spans a broad range of environments, including public and… Read More
Michael MorrowFox
Michael Morrow-Fox is a highly skilled consultant experienced in healthcare, education, banking, and nonprofit management. He has more than 20 years’ experience in leading technology and human resources operations, along with several years of full-time university teaching. Mr. Morrow-Fox uses his background to blend his real-world understanding with current theoretical models, helping clients reach goals beyond their current thinking. Having… Read More