The spirit of true leadership is always manifested in an innovative attitude. The very nature of leading demands an innovative spirit as leaders take followers to an as-yet undiscovered world of vision.
Innovation is the creative reserve of true leaders. The ultimate goal of leadership is to successfully achieve and accomplish a predetermined vision to fulfil a primary purpose. The role of the leader is to provide a sense of purpose, vision, motivation, momentum, and a productive environment to accomplish this task. A key quality of leadership in this regard is an innovative and creative mind-set.
One of the principal characteristics of effective leaders is their ability to think outside the box, true leaders learn from their experiences, but they never live in them. They never live their lives by prior experiences or else they would become entrenched in the past, leaders don’t allow the past to dictate or entrap the future. They possess the capacity to combine old ideas and concepts in order to create new ones. They never believe that there is only one way to accomplish any task. True leaders are never prisoners of tradition.
Our ability to innovate comes from the fact that that we are made in the image of our creator. In the light of the mind-set of an innovator, let’s look at some definitions of innovation. Innovation is the capacity to create new approaches and concepts to deal with old and new challenges. Innovation is the perceptivity to see possibilities in the combination of old and new concepts. Innovation is the creation, development, and application of untested ways of solving old and new problems. Innovation is the capacity to think beyond the known, defy the norm, and believe in one’s abilities to solve problems.
The first century writer paul said that we are to “put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its creator.” This means that the more we are transformed into the image of the one who created us, the more innovative we should be.
An examination of the attitudes and actions of the creator’s innovative spirit leads us to the following conclusions. The creator created with diversity; he never repeated anything in creation. The creator never did the same miracle twice In the same way. The creator always solved problems in unexpected and untraditional ways. The creator challenged humanity to thin beyond its current experience. The creator never believed anything was impossible. The creator never dealt with humanity according to its norms and expectations.
One of the greatest examples of the leadership spirit of innovation is the ultimate leader, the young Jewish rabbi Jesus. During his time on earth over two thousand years ago, he demonstrated the same innovative spirit as the heavenly father. His creativity was manifested throughout all his work among men. In performing his miracles, he never repeated any single method but always used a different approach to solve every problem.
For example, he healed the blind using several different methods. For some, he laid he hands on the person’s eyes and put mud on them, and then laid his hands on them again to cause the person to receive his sight. For still another, he simply spoke words, “Go, your faith has healed you,” and the person as healed.
When Jesus wanted to feed thousands of people who had gathered to hear him speak, he didn’t have his disciples buy food at the market, but he multiplied five loaves and two fish so that everyone was fed and had leftovers to spare.
When he raised the dead, he did so in several different ways. One time he touched a young man’s man coffin and then told him to get up; in another instance, he took a little girl by the hand and told her to get up; and at another time he called out to Lazarus, who was still in his grave, and Lazarus walked out of the tomb alive. Every instance was unique and most likely tailored to the individual or to God’s specific purposes at the time.
Jesus was also innovative in his methods of travel. While everyone that crossed lake in boats, there were one or two instances in which he walked on top of water.
Finally, one time when Jesus and his disciples needed to pay taxes and peter was concerned about it, Jesus told him to go fishing and that the fish he caught would have money inside its mouth that they could use to pay the taxes. His leadership style shows that true leadership demands that we always consider new ways to solve old problems.
Having a predetermined mind-set hinders the spirit of innovation. In the book of the prophet Isaiah, God said, “forget the former thing; do not dwell on the past. See, I am dong a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” we can apply these statements in our development as innovators.
Whenever you encounter a project, a challenge, or a problem, practice thinking in new ways and with a different mind-set. Ask the creator to give you a fresh perspective, and see what happens! As Paul wrote, “now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”.
To become the leader that you were born to be and to manifest the hidden spirit of leadership dormant within you, you must cultivate the spirit of innovation. Do not be afraid to rise above mediocrity. Harness creativity and explore the uncharted worlds of the untested.
Leaders do not follow paths they create trails. They venture where others don’t dare to tread. Know that the horizon of life offers great opportunities. Leaders take time to sit and think of things that have not yet been done and then make plans to get them done. Venture into uncomfortable zone INNOVATE!