The Impact of Transformational Leadership on Innovation

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Currently, innovation is considered to be a critical aspect for the success of a business enterprise. Companies are striving to embrace creativity and innovation in their operation. They have employed different strategies to cultivate the innovative culture of effectiveness. Innovation has proofed to be a source of competitive advantage in the organisations which translates into increased business profitability and sustainability (Glover & Newman, 2013). Therefore, companies are now on toes seeking the best strategies to embrace for an effective creation of the innovation. It has been observed that the presence of transformational leadership in a business has impacts on the creation of innovation in the workplace (Fairholm, 2009). They provide direction and the general driving force towards attaining the innovation goals in business.

This paper makes an evaluation of how the transformational leadership can impact the process of creating innovation in the workplace. It discusses the innovation and the leadership aspects and then explores the link between the business management and the implementation process of innovation. Later, the essay recommends why it is important for the businesses to consider having transformational leaders in innovation implementation process. Therefore, the paper is critical in helping to understand the link between innovation and the leadership at the workplace.

Innovation in the Workplace

Innovation refers to the process of coming up with new ideas or ways to improve the existing ones, through clear steps until viable products or services are created. It entails actualisation of the ideas into a lucrative concept. Usually, businesses seek innovation for various reasons. Some seek it to solve the problems, adapt to change, maximise globalisation, face completion while other seek it to meet the changing needs and preferences of the customers (Hassman, 2017). By so doing, they tend to benefit experience, creativity, leadership and better brand name among others. However, the innovation process is associated with many different risks in its implementation. Some of these risks and uncertainties include the chances of technological failure, financial issue, market failure, implementation capacities and the organisational risks.

Typically, innovation process at the workplace conforms to various steps for its success. Firstly, there is idea generation, directing innovation to the customers, employees, the public, partners and competitors among others. The second step is the idea advocacy and screening, whereby the suggested idea is subjected to tests to establish there relevance and the general robustness of the business when adopted (Bouquet, 2011). The stage is critical because it offers an opportunity to filter out lucrative ideas only that possible to be implemented. Thirdly, the selected idea is experimented to determine its fitness and its ability to execute. The process entails practically implementing the idea for test purposes and then observing the results that come out. The results will determine whether to go ahead with the idea into the next steps or not (Bacchiega et al 2011).

After the experimentation process, the next aspect is to commercialise the selected idea. The step entails preparing the market for the idea under implementation. The target market is persuaded and convinced that the new solution or improvement is good and will be helpful. When the idea has been commercialised, the last step follows which entails the diffusion and implementation (Christensen et al., 2015). Diffusion is when the organisation accepts to embrace the idea by putting in place that is required to have the project running. It requires the acceptability and wholehearted willingness to implement the idea. Some of the factors that affect the level of diffusion and implementation include the ability to experiment, advantage level brought about, compatibility with other systems and also the complex level involved in its adoption (Richardson, 2014). Therefore, successful implementation of innovation demands for analysing and designing strategies to overcome these associated drawbacks.

Models Used for Innovation in the Workplace

There exist various innovation models that are available tested and proved to provide a framework guide for innovation in the workplace. Their design is mostly determined by their nature and the key focus areas of innovation in the business (Amabile and Khaire, 2008). They serve the role of providing a guide and explanation on how the innovation is implemented. The innovation models have been undergoing change and improvement since the ancient times as a way to make them suit the business in the most appropriate way possible. This has been noted through the various generations (Rishipal & Manish, 2013). However, each of the models has its own advantages and disadvantages when embraced. The choice of the model is solely dependent on the organisation itself and the innovation goals that it has.

Some of the workplace innovation models from the early times include the technology push model. The approach mostly makes its basis on the scientific discoveries, research and development especially in the engineering and technical sectors. There is also the market pull model and is mostly identified by its ability to come up with the ideas from the marketplaces. Also, there is the coupling method approach, which has its attention drawn onto a variety of aspects such as the creativity, research and even the feed from the customer and other stakeholders (Vosloban, 2012).  Besides, there exists the interactive model of innovation which emphasises on the adherence of the innovation steps and puts less consideration on the source or area of innovation. Its steps are the initiation, development and then implementation. Again, there is the network model that focuses on the scrutiny of both the internal and the external environmental networks. Lastly, there is the open innovation model which is made up of both the characteristics of the network and those of interactive model (Dilaver, 2014).   

Impacts of Transformational Leadership at the Workplace

Role of Leadership in Innovation in the Workplace

There exist various innovation critical success factors. Some of these factors include better leadership which provides the rightful direction in the organisation and the fostering the innovation culture within the organisation. Usually, culture has a great impact in transforming the minds of people to make them think about innovation. Another critical success factor is the rewarding of failure by recognising the well-performing workers. Besides, it is important to compare its state with that of the performing organisations. The approach provides a platform onto which the solutions can be developed, thus, helping in setting the goals clear. Lastly, success in the innovation process of the company lies in adopting an effective organisational structure. A flat management profile is perceived to the best leadership structure that encourages the innovation process. When well embraced, the critical success factors show a lot of capabilities to bring positive impacts to the organisation’s innovation process (Soss et al 2011).

At the centre of the innovation critical success factors, there lies leadership. It is viewed as a perceived as a control and guides towards innovation implementation process in the company. They serve the role guiding the team towards realising the key areas in operation where the gaps exist. Problem identification is always the starting point towards innovation. Again, they foster the innovation culture among the workers (Mohiuddin, 2017). The leaders utilise all the available approaches to realise and incorporate the culture into operations. Typically, the root of success to any project implementation in an organisation is a focus on the culture. It has the capabilities of changing how people think about innovation, and then make them act differently. Therefore leadership is the critical aspect towards successful innovation implementation process.

Unique Characteristics of a Transformational Leader that Impacts to the Innovation Process

There exist many different kinds of leadership that are used in the workplace. However, transformation leadership model has depicted aspects that make it the most appropriate type for an effective innovation creation process at the workplace. These leaders are characterised by building the capabilities of their followers towards the achievement of the corporate visions. They tend to help others more by looking beyond their personal interests and those of the group (Travel Alberta, 2017). They are good role models with inspirational power that can make people change traditional perception and adopt better ways. Additionally, the transformational leaders are can stimulate others to think beyond the limits of self-interest, yet considering their individualised issues. These features have specific positive impacts on the innovation creation at the workplace (Wright & Pandey, 2010).

Firstly, these leaders are characterised by having visions for the coming days. Whereas most people make a lot of focus on the present and short-term aspects, the transformational leaders have the capability to see into the long-term goals. The character has impacts on the innovation state of the business because it prompts people to make more efforts towards attaining these long-term visions (Moynihan & Pandey, 2010). By focusing on the future, the entire organisation will have a spirit of seeking new ways of doing things or improve the existing approaches. Secondly, these leaders also have a feature of challenging the status quo of the workers and even the entire organisation. They tend to make people perceive that there exist better ways of doing things than what exists at that particular point in time. Such form of thinking drives people and the entire business to be creative, thus impacting positively on the innovation creation process (Al-Hussami et al 2018).

Thirdly, the transformation leaders have the capability of establishing and building the trust with the employees. They possess the capability of making the workers trust them and the entire leadership without necessarily speaking out but through their character and actions. They tend to do things in a way they have agreed as a team, an aspect that makes the employees view them as reliable. The approach is critical in helping to build a team that has one voice, an aspect that has the positive impact on innovation. Fourthly, these leaders usually move with speed in the execution process. Speed is a factor that has impacts on the successful implementation of the project. Research shows that quick execution process increases the chances of success (Heathfield, 2017). These aspects of implementation speed have positively affected the innovation creation and implementation process.

Another character of these leaders is the fact that they have the capability of setting the aspiration goals. Usually, a goal-setting process has impacts on the success of the innovation process. They have the capabilities of coming up with new objectives rejuvenates people and how they think. They always have a craving for the information, which makes them to continuously find suitable data to move the business (Markos & Sridevi, 2010). Again, these leaders are always fast to possess information on the specific areas that need innovation. This capability makes them be very resourceful in helping other team members’ move towards achieving the goals. They depict professional curiosity in the process of implementation, thus, they impact positively to the organisational drive to innovation (Management Study Guide, 2018).  

Additionally, the transformational managers are always the best team players. They excel at teamwork, an aspect that makes them win more support from others towards the creation of the innovation in the business. Ability to foster teamwork is one of the major critical factors towards the success of the innovation project. Therefore, these leaders have the capability to influence the creation of innovation positively through fostering teamwork (Shaout & Yousif, 2014). Lastly, these managers also depict the aspect of the value of diversity and inclusion. They can work with people with different opinions yet deliver the results. In as much as there is always need for people to think together for the success of a project, differences in opinions are also important in delivering the results because of room for a new perception of various aspects. Transformational leaders possess the capabilities of managing them all. Therefore, through these characters, they play a critical positive role towards successful creation and execution of the innovation at the workplace (Colbert et al., 2008).

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, innovation is essential in the workplace. It is the best strategy that the companies can use to deliver value to the customers in the best way possible, and thus, gain a competitive advantage over others. Innovation at the workplace is implemented in a variety of ways depending on the prevailing factors of the company. The transformational leadership has positive impacts on the business. Its presence drives innovation implementation process in the company. Innovation creation process at the workplaces that lack transformational leaders has high chances of failing. As a recommendation, organisations need to adopt transformational leadership in their operation. The approach will help them successfully create and manage the innovation in their businesses. By so doing, they will be better positioned to reap the best out innovation. They will design new ways of doing things will benefit them both directly and indirectly, thus innovation.


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January 19, 2024




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