The Best of L2L Blogazine 2011-2012 (Top #5 and 6)

This week L2L is bringing you a recap of the Top 10 most popular blog posts over the last year. Enjoy Top #5 and 6!


#6 | 10 Ways to Encourage Innovation | by Ron Edmondson

I firmly believe it is a mistake of leaders to feel they can force innovation or even create innovative people.

Innovation, in its purest form, means change. And while change can be forced upon people, the best changes, the kind that make an organization excellent, come from the heart of a person.

Great innovation comes from the gut.  You cannot legislate those kinds of changes.

Culture of Innovation

Even if that is true, however, there are things leaders can do even in a culture of innovation to encourage team members to be more creative.

Here are a 10 random ideas to help.

Feel free to add some that have worked in your organization.

  1. Get away from the office routinely as a team.  There is something about a change in surroundings that encourages a change in thought.
  2. Have a brainstorming session with open-ended questions.  (For an example our staff did recently read THIS POST.)
  3. Reward new ideas/Recognize new thoughts/Celebrate success – People will want to be a part of it.
  4. Encourage thinking time.  (Read a couple posts about that HERE and HERE.)
  5. Have times together as a team that are simply fun.
  6. Remove obstacles to innovative thought, such as communication barriers between team members and management.
  7. Talk about current culture and how changes can impact your organization’s culture.
  8. Be accessible.  It encourages team members to share new ideas with you more often.
  9. Welcome diversity of thoughts and opinions, even if they are different than yours.
  10. Set innovation goals, such as “make changes to the website next year this time.”

Here are more steps from

  • Promote regular team brainstorming sessions. Brainstorming allows employees a chance to produce a high quantity of ideas. Once a large store of ideas is built up, teams have an opportunity to choose only the best of the bunch, leading to higher quality of ideas as well.
  • Take short breaks during brainstorming sessions. Psychological studies prove that taking short breaks during brainstorming sessions can increase productivity and lead to greater creativity and innovation.
  • Ask team members to think about the issues at hand and write down ideas before attending a brainstorming session. This will lead to greater productivity during the session.
  • Create a positive and encouraging work environment. If employees feel comfortable and encouraged, they will not be afraid to express their ideas to the team. A positive work environment also reduces stress, which can inhibit creativity and innovation.
  • Consider adding a new member to the team if it seems creativity and innovation are lacking. A new member can bring a fresh perspective and more ideas to the table.

Read more: How to Encourage Team Creativity and Innovation

I encourage you to innovate and come up with better ideas than these and share them with us here.


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is Co-Pastor at Grace Community Church
He specializes in Communication, Strategy, Org Behavior, Mgmt and Marketing
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#5 | 6 Steps to Sustainable Leadership: Maintaining Harmony | by Al Gonzalez

Office Conflict

We all play a role in conflict development. And supervisors need to help all team members understand how conflict develops and what we can do to manage it.   

This is critical to enabling the team’s ability to maintain harmony, maximize its strengths and consistently exceed expectations.

On Leadership and Self-Deception

The most influential book I have read on this topic is Leadership and Self Deception from the Arbinger Institute.

The model of collusion presented in this book provides an excellent explanation of our tendency to distort others’ actions into “self-justifying” reasons for judging others.

This is happening as we see ourselves as goodhardworking, and honest.

In reality, this self-image is seldom the truth, as we often engage in negative politics and confrontations that simply hinder the teams’ ability to achieve the best results possible. T

he consequences of this can range from team members avoiding each other to full-blown HR issues requiring hours of valuable time.

This often results in less than stellar performance and a huge waste of resources.

Graphically Speaking

The graphic below does a wonderful job of illustrating how conflict usually develops

I see I do They see They do

Starting with Step #1:

Someone acts

Then in Step #2:

We “ass_u_me” that our distortion of their action is what the other person actually intended.

We then act Step #3:

In a way that actually is intended as some sort of retaliation or attack.

We then come to step #4:

Where the other person sees our retaliation or attack.

At this point, it really does not matter what their actual intent was in step #1.  By now, conflict has “locked-in” and we are “in the box.”  This is completely irrational but amazingly common.

Not-So-Rosy Glasses

Based on our tendency to distort others’ actions, we tend to see what others do in ways that maximize our frustration.

I often find that our assumptions about others’ intentions are wrong.

It is a lot harder, however, for us to give them the benefit of the doubt and drum up the courage to ask the other person’s intent.

Instead, we typically just get frustrated from someone else’s action, let that frustration grow into negative energy and allow the shadow areas of our personalities to lead us into conflict.

Authority can be a double edge sword!

Lasting Repercussions

Imagine how unfair this process can be when management distorts what staff members do in ways that affect an employee’s performance rating.

This can be one of the most damaging actions a supervisor can make.

When we are given supervisory authority over others, we have to be extremely careful to verify our assumptions as authority can enhance our need to be “right” and justified in our assumptions.

There is nothing more detrimental to staff morale than being incorrectly judged by management.

In addition to hurting employee morale, supervisors can cause an immense amount of damage if they incorrectly interpret the actions of their peers and share their distorted assumptions with their direct reports.

This often leads to issues across departments in an organization.

Acting Responsibly

Supervisors, above everyone else, must understand the damage they can cause by engaging in collusion with direct reports and their peers!  If they don’t, they can negatively affect performance in their department and across the organization.

  • What is a supervisor to do?
  • How can management ensure that distortion and assumptions are not driving their actions?

While we may not always be able to maintain harmony and completely avoid our tendency to distort others’ actions, using feedback as a strategic organizational tool can greatly improve our odds of avoiding costly assumptions in the workplace.

Implementing a feedback mechanism is the focus on my next article, “6 Steps to Superior Leadership:  The Feedback Mechanism.”


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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Al Gonzalez
Al Gonzalez is Founding Partner at GIVE Leadership
He helps clients develop trust and leverage the strengths of all team members
Email | LinkedIn |  Twitter | Web

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