Innovation is a common and hard to define concept in the workplace. Leaders want their teams involved in forward-thinking and problem-solving. However, declaring your workplace as innovative does not automatically change your employees’ mindset. If you want to create real answers to problems or advancements for your business, you should help innovative ideas come to fruition. Therefore, using an internal communication strategy will help drive innovation and build confidence in the workplace.
Employees work best as a team if their ideas are heard, considered, and developed upon. Difficulty exists when implementing real innovation. Often seemingly great ideas may fall flat because they fail to take practical business aspects into account. When ideas are turned down by a superior, it results in negative morale. However, all employees should realize some ideas do not work, but that should not discourage them from sharing ideas in the future.
Leaders must build a team of innovative thinkers and guide innovative ideas into a working format. To understand the exact areas improvement can occur in a company, a leader must be aware of what is going on in the organization. The following are corporate communication strategies that can be used to drive innovation.
Perform Regular Forums for Employee Engagement
Managers should participate in any forums by adding knowledge through research and critical thinking points. Working on employee’s comfortability around each other can transform shy employees. Anyone has the capacity to spin their ideas into forward-thinking problem-solving through support and guidance. Plan a weekly or bi-weekly meeting where your teams can brainstorm and give their opinions. Innovation is often needed in steady doses. Therefore, ideas that are implemented will never achieve full functionality if things are constantly changing around them.
Many innovative ideas will take time to reach their potential. Take time to address issues with each solution before moving on to the next one. If something ultimately doesn’t work, do not fear scrapping it. Just make sure you and your team learn from what went wrong. Do not flood your employees with new ideas before they are properly trained to understand them. Also, do not move quickly through ideas which can produce rushed plans. Overloading your employees will only cause employee burnout. Click here to learn more about how to avoid employee burnout.
Use Constructive Criticism Without Weakening Personal Connections
Constructive criticism is necessary, but do it with workplace personal connections in mind. If your team and colleagues have not responded well to criticism, then highlight a new project for them to start on. This project should reflect what you know they are best at. However, if they continue to ask about a past “bad” idea, let them down nicely and honestly. Then praise them for one of their recent ideas that you really do like.
Keep the employee’s innovative train of thought chugging with reassuring, supportive communication. Encourage the effort, even if the solution is lacking. Do this before describing why this specific focus does not work. With the original idea in mind, brainstorm with other employees on how to fix it or better solve the issue.
Give Your Team Important Responsibilities for Empowerment
The more tasks your employees are in charge of, the more confidence you are revealing in them. When your employees develop the ability to think critically, their decisions are made in the best interest of your company. For example, when handling customers, your employees will deal with a variety of problems. Therefore, your employees will have to effectively problem-solve on their own. Employees should use innovative thinking to decide where and when the rules and guidelines of the company should be applied. So, avoid micro-managing. Instead, let your employees take responsibility. While employees will still require oversight, large delegations can free up time for everyone to present amazing ideas.
Lastly, have the option of freeing some of the company’s issues placed on your shoulders, for multiple outlooks. Employees coming from a different mindset often easily solve an issue that have left others stumped. Always consider other departments that do not suffer from the same problem to determine if you can learn and implement their remedy for it. Provide the employees with the correct opportunities and tasks, made for their specific skill set. All jobs take a combination of skills to complete. So, don’t put someone with no sales experience in charge of marketing simply because they are good at budgeting. Employees that are pros in one department may need guidance to develop the skills necessary to move on to larger tasks.
Promote Patience to Keep Employees Excited for Innovation
Teaching patience to others by showing your own will to correct and improve your work shows integrity. If new ideas are implemented or employees are put into new roles, they need adjustment time. Quick solutions are not commonly found in businesses, it usually takes trial and error to find the perfect balance of management and employee freedom. Unfortunately, sometimes, things happen. So, if employees fear blame and punishment too much this can discourage new innovative ideas and create a culture of hostility when something does go awry. Repeated issues need to be dealt with, but forgiveness can go a long way.
Know the Difference Between Coaching and Commanding Your Employees
When planning an innovative workplace project, understand your approach is not set in stone. Keep your options open, so your team can decide what steps to take with their new solutions or innovative ideas. Avoid dictating over others, or taking their ideas and molding them into unchangeable goals.
Keep multiple options when examining a particular innovative solution. Through attentive internal communication strategies, avoid authoritarian demands. So as a leader, you need to fight with your army. Dos not hide during battle. Positive reinforcement produces better improvements than negative reinforcement. So, coach to engage your team and drive innovation.
Learn to Communicate Positively to Deal with Negativity
Employees sometimes get offended or upset with each other. Adding more negativity and drama to the situation produces even more problems. A skilled manager defuses situations, while ensuring everyone is heard. Simple misunderstandings are the most common reason for arguments in the workplace. They are often solved by slowing things down and giving each person a chance to explain their perspective.
If this does not work because one employee has done wrong, try to understand their thought process. Afterward, calmly explain the proper way to handle the situation. Punishments are detrimental, since it will make you seem more like an authority figure.
Innovative thinking needs to be cultivated in employees, but as a leader it’s your responsibility to create personal connection. Body language can make or break personal connection, so cover all the basics of effective workplace communication. Then, you can take steps to instill confidence and fully empower your employees to drive innovation.