Brad Smith’s most interesting insight in the article is, “Regardless of whether you are leading a large enterprise or a small team, you need to remove barriers to innovation and get out of the way.” Even the most brilliant leaders don’t always have all the answers. It’s a good idea to turn to your employees and ask them for suggestions on what to do when facing challenges that seem too big to handle. You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised by the results.
“At the end of the day, it’s about empowering individuals to contribute ideas and make an impact,” Smith says. I’ve heard it said that great leaders hire people who are better than themselves. Don’t feel threatened because the people you manage can perform tasks better than you can. That’s what you’re paying them to do. You want problem solvers and creative thinkers on your team who can make your job easier.
“We realize the importance of recognizing employees for their innovative work,” Smith notes. On a regular basis, Intuit gives out prizes to its employees for coming up with new product ideas and thinking outside the box. What a great idea! Even if it’s just a pat on the back or an email to the whole company, recognizing people’s contributions can go a long way toward making employees feel valued and happy. They’ll also be more likely to make suggestions in the future.
Push the Limit
“Challenge employees to step outside their comfort zone,” Smith suggests. We all have boundaries we feel comfortable living within. However, growth can only occur if we push past those self-imposed limits and try new things. It’s scary to be out of your element, and sometimes you’ll make mistakes as you try to learn new things. But you can’t let fear govern your life. Encourage employees to take strategic chances and become something great.