Don’t Be That CEO: 4 Leadership Styles That Will Kill Innovation

All CEOs know that innovation is crucial to success and longevity, but achieving your innovation goals can be very difficult. [...]

April 26 2012 by ChiefExecutive.net


All CEOs know that innovation is crucial to success and longevity, but achieving your innovation goals can be very difficult. The Harvard Business Review notes that many CEOs make the mistake of thinking that your innovation problems arise from your employees – that you don’t have the right people. Anyone can innovate, says HBR, but it’s a matter of training.

And what works for some companies might not work for others. There are some clear missteps that you can make, however.

Here are the 4 CEO leadership styles that will stunt your company’s innovation:

  1. The Cowboy: Don’t force everyone to think outside the box, to push the limits. Your company needs boundaries and focus to innovate in a useful way. Making a goal may help.
  2. The Googlephile: Google is an exception to the rule when it allows its employees 20% of their time to work on creative new ideas. In most companies this “creative” time will just be time wasted. Instead, leave the creative thinking to a smaller, selected group.
  3. The Astronaut: Making a huge breakthrough (“putting a man on the moon”) is hugely risky and most likely will fail. Trying to innovate in small ways can lead to great change.
  4. The Pirate: Have a clear budget. You need one; you won’t be able to “find the money when you need it.”

Read: The Four Worst Innovation Assassins