What if it’s the boss who’s the problem? And what if you are the boss? Well I’ve got good news for you!

All in my 40 years in business I have never yet met the perfect boss.  I have worked with some pretty awful ones and with one or two great ones too, but never the perfect one.  This week I am preparing a two-day lecture workshop on innovation and leadership and in doing so, I find myself reflecting on leadership styles and their impact on creativity and innovation in the workplace.

It’s very easy to blame a lack of innovation or any other restriction, for that matter, on a particular boss’ style or short comings but in reality, I believe that blame itself is the problem that holds back progress. For as long as people are blaming an individual, the focus of attention is on the blame object and not on ‘how can we make this work’?

I have seen innovation occur and departmental targets being exceeded under many styles of leadership, from oppressors to liberals. The question is rather, how should the team dynamics and even behavioural processes take into account the leadership style of the person in charge? Some teams will, by chance, have people in them that not only have good ideas but also enough influencing power to alter the dynamics enough to allow the team to be successful ‘despite’ the boss, while others will use any negative impacts of the leadership style to their advantage.

I believe the secret is not so much to blame the leader but more to help the leader understand better their own style and to work with them to discover what processes and team dynamics will work best with their style of leadership.  Most of us are able to adapt our behaviour, if it is pointed out to us and if we believe that there is some benefit for us to do so. In this way, nearly every team can be tuned to achieve at least a ‘functioning well’ label.  All I need to do now is to refine my theories and find some broken teams to try them out on!  Any takers?

Have a good week