Leadership and Management of Innovation Environments

Bridge Over Snake RiverLeadership and management are often confused and used interchangeably by many executives. Both involve such an overlap of activities in many situations. Leadership is viewed as the soft stuff needed to build and maintain teams and to motivate everyone to follow the strategic plan, the outcome of management activity. From my experience leadership and management represents a continuum of actions and thinking that are interfaced and interactive. Without a strategic plan to follow and people motivated to follow it, an innovation environment will flounder and stagnate.

To me it all centers around treating people as unique individuals. People tend to think first as individuals, speak often with self-interest in mind, react like people, behave like people, and they change (as people) and only if they decide to change. In my experience as a research executive and a management consultant, leaders who treat people as unique individuals create collaborative successes, they build successful teams, they continually act with integrity, and they build sustainable, innovative platforms to meet the strategic plan of the organization. They need to bridge the gap between leadership and management skills and apply to the situation as needed.

Many executives need to develop their exterior focus on other people. Many are still challenged by their own ability to be introspective, they need to be challenged to evaluate how they think, especially their own behavioral patterns, how they react to certain triggers, learn about their own fears, how they see people, and how they communicate and come across in general. A leader needs to have a great level of self awareness, before even being able to start effectively dealing with other people.

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