Rebel Rebel: Nurturing innovation in your team

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by Jeanette Graham

If the last 6 months have taught us anything, it’s that ’normal’ doesn’t exist. In the face of insurmountable pressure, it’s time to trust the ‘rebels’ in your organisation to create and overcome. Innovation could come from a place you don’t expect.

Let’s start by clearing something up – rebels aren’t trouble-makers. We’re talking about the people who always have a unique perspective, the ones who aren’t afraid to challenge the status-quo.

Here’s how to nurture the innovators in your team:


1. Respect that there is more than one way to achieve a goal

A common trap is assuming that ‘one size fits all’. Give your team a brief and an outcome and see how they approach it. A team with the freedom to think independently will come up with much more creative solutions!


2. Allow mistakes to happen

And more importantly, learn from them. Outside our comfort zone is right where the magic happens, but there’s also more room for error. Learn to take mistakes as an opportunity to reflect and try again, not something to punish.


3. As a leader, learn to channel your team’s creative energy

The ‘rebels’ in your team are motivated by making a difference and having their unique strengths valued. However, they are also easily bored and can be frustrated by unnecessary barriers. Allow your team to have autonomy and ownership over their decision making. Set the bar high and give a clear brief, but leave the rest to them. The result will be creative, forward-thinking ideas and a team that feels empowered.


4. Listen

You don’t have to agree with every idea, but you do need to let everyone say their piece. Good leadership means being open-minded and allowing people to challenge you. Even if you don’t move forward with that idea, allowing someone to speak and be heard creates an environment in which everyone feels confident offering opinions and feedback.


5. Be accountable

Let your team know that they are safe to take risks, and that you’ve got their back when things don’t go to plan. Not only are you leading by example, you’re creating trust and building a team that really works together.


Innovation is essential to pushing forward in these unprecedented times. Trust in your team, hand them the reigns, and watch them grow.