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Leaders in Innovation Assessment Essay

As stated in the assessment instructions, in the field of organizational leadership, many models are used as a means of examining what qualities and skills make an effective leader. Although there is a variety of models I have decided to analyze the behavioural and the transformational theory models. Reviewing the resources recommended for discovery and delivery skills, I learned how those skills have a direct impact on an effective leader’s performance in innovation organization. The discovery skills are based on associating, questioning, observing, experimenting, and networking they are also referred as the DNA of innovation. Delivery skills also play in the innovation process with their four key skills which are analyzing, planning, detail-oriented implementing, and self-disciplined executing. In the body of this paper I will unfold my research on those skills and identify its correlation with innovation. I will also be assessing the strengths and weaknesses on my ability to support innovation in an organization. Leadership Models Supporting Innovation

Over the years, a number of leadership theories have been established including: trait, behavioural, contingency, and transformational theory. My analysis will be on behavioral and transformational. Behavioral Theories

As described in Doyle and Smith (2001) early researchers ran out of steam in their search for traits, they turned to what leaders did and how they behaved, specially towards followers. They moved from leaders to leadership and this became the dominant way of approaching leadership within the organizations in the 1950s and early 1960s. Different patterns of behaviour were grouped together and labeled as styles. This became a very popular activity within management training perhaps the best known being Blake and Mouton’s Managerial Grid (1964; 1978). Various schemes appeared, designed to diagnose and develop people’s style of working. Despite different names, the basic ideas were very similar. The four main styles that appear are: Concern for task. Here leaders emphasize the achievement of concrete objectives. Concern for people. In this style, leaders look upon their followers as people their needs, interests, problems, and development. Directive leadership. This style is characterized by leaders taking decisions for others and expecting followers or subordinates to follow instructions. Participative leadership. Here leaders try to share decision-making with others.

The behavioral theory has many assumptions which conclude that leaders can be made rather than born. This theory has a direct approach with innovation in the organization. With the managements concern for their employees it gives everyone in the organization the motivation to innovate. Innovation is all about adaptability and with the behavioral theory leaders are made, which means that they can adapt to any situation that they are confronted with. The following grid model was developed by Robert Blake and Jane Mouton in the early 1960s

The grid clarifies the magnitude in which a leader focuses on these dimensions determining the leadership style that they relate to. Some leaders are more concerned with getting the tasks at hand completed successfully in a timely manner. Other leaders prefer creating solid interpersonal relationships with their employees, because by being an oriented leader the employee’s performance will be higher. For example, if you have a high concern for completing a task and achieving results with little concern for having a relationship with people, you would be an authority-obedience manager. Another example: if you have little concern to complete a task or interact with people, you would be an impoverished manager. Transformational Theory

Transformational leaders are those leaders who transform followers personal values and self-concepts, move them to higher levels of needs and aspirations (Jung, 2001), and raise the performance expectations of their followers (Bass, 1995). This leadership has four components; charismatic role modeling, individualized consideration, inspirational motivation, and intellectual stimulation. Using charisma, the leader instills admiration, respect, and loyalty, and emphasizes the importance of having a collective sense of mission. By individualized consideration, the leader builds a one-to-one relationship with his or her followers, and understands and considers their differing needs, skills, and aspirations. Thus, transformational leaders articulates an exciting vision of the future, shows the followers the ways to achieve the goals, and expresses his or her belief that they can do. (Bass, 1990)

Incorporated by (Cohen and Levinthal, 1990; Damanpour, 1991) has been suggested that transformational leadership is an important source of organizational innovation, empirical studies have not examined the moderating role of this contextual factor while investigating the relationship between transformational leadership and innovation. In addition to external support for innovation, support within the organization, in terms of an innovation supporting climate and adequate resources allocated to innovation might also be an important contextual factor that plays a role in this relationship. Transformational leaders have been suggested to have an impact on innovation. Transformational leaders enhance innovation within the organizational context; in other words the tendency of organizations to innovate.

According to (Elkins and Keller, 2003) transformational leaders use inspirational motivation and intellectual stimulation which are critical for organizational innovation. They also promote creative ideas within their organizations and their behaviors. Blake , and Jane (n.d.).

Discovery and Delivery Skills
In recent studies it has been identified that the ability of a person’s creative thinking comes one-third from their genetics; and the other two-thirds of innovation skill set comes through learning (Dyer, Gregersen, & Christensen, 2009, p. 63). To begin with, a person is given a skill set that they will analyze till understand, then practicing, experimenting, and lastly gaining confidence in one’s capacity to create. The following details will demonstrate by skills how innovative entrepreneurs acquire their innovation skills. The following five skills set that constitute the “innovators DNA”: associating, questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting.

Discovery skill 1: Associating is the ability to successfully connect seemingly unrelated questions, problems, or ideas from different fields, is central to the innovator’s DNA. Discovery skill 2: Questioning the power of provocative questions. To question effectively, innovative entrepreneurs do the following: ask “why?” and “why not?” and “what if?” Discovery skill 3: Observing the behavior of potential customers. In observing others, they act like anthropologists and social scientists. Discovery skill 4: Experimenting, innovative entrepreneurs actively try out new ideas by creating prototypes and launching pilots. Discovery skill 5: Networking is devoting time and energy to finding and testing ideas through a network of diverse individuals gives innovators a radically different perspective.

Delivery skills play in the innovation process, improving their discovery, and encouraging themselves and their organizations to take a long-term view. The delivery skills consist of four keys terms: analyzing, planning, detailed-oriented implementing, and self-disciplined executing. At times delivery skills are relatively more important during the maturity growth of a business. Analyzing: examine methodically and in detail the constitution or structure of something or information. Planning: the process of making plans for something.

Detail-oriented implementing: capable of carrying out a given task with all details necessary to get the task well done and executed. Disciplined-executing: acting in accordance, and performing an act successfully. The synthesis of, discovery and delivery skills are critical for delivering results and translating an innovative idea into reality for organizations. According to Dyer, Gregersen, and Christensen, (2011) it is vital to understand that the skills critical to an organization’s success vary systematically throughout the business life cycle. For example, in the start-up phase of an innovative venture, the founders are obviously more discovery-driven and entrepreneurial.

Discovery skills are crucial early in the business life cycle because the company’s key task is to generate new ideas worth pursuing. Thus, discovery skills are highly valued at this stage and delivery skills are secondary. However, once innovative entrepreneurs come up with a promising new business idea and then shape that idea into a bona fide business opportunity, the company begins to grow and then must pay attention to building the processes necessary to scale the idea. Strengths and Weaknesses in Discovery & Delivery Skills

Strengths Discovery Skills Weaknesses Associating: I’m always coming up with new ideas to improve things. Experimenting: Like with observing I also like to experiment, but I quickly become frustrated after getting something wrong after a couple of tries. I would like to give myself the ability to keep trying with a positive mind that I will get to the right solution. Questioning: When it comes to questioning I don’t have a mute button. I like to ask enough questions because it helps me come up with the best solution. Networking: I have no networking skills. I’ve had the opportunity to do this in my place of work, but I never take the time to do it. Observing: This skill is definitely one of my strongest. I observe everything that goes around me always finding a better way to solve an issue.

StrengthsDelivery SkillsWeaknesses
Planning: I enjoy planning, especially when the plan in process will be a success to an issue. Analyzing: I lose interest very easily when I have to sit down for a long period of time to analyze something. Detail-Oriented: When I’m given and assignment I make sure I executed just as it was asked.

Discipline-executing: I always make sure I perform to the best of my ability as asked of me following all regulations and procedures to be successful.

Having good associating, questioning, observing, planning, detail-oriented, and discipline-executing skills will not only be beneficial for me, but also for the organization that I work for. Due to the fact that innovation is a critical aspect for organizations, senior executives are always seeking for candidates with these types of skills because it will contribute to their ability to innovate and be successful in the business with strategically ideas since executives don’t feel responsible for innovating. Unfortunately due to that fact; that my weaknesses with experimenting, networking, and analyzing will hinder my ability to support innovation in an organization at 100%. Although I’m not as concerned even though my weaknesses will delay any project I might be working on, but with trial in error I can convert those weaknesses into strengths. As stated in the innovators DNA, practice, practice, practice. Though innovative thinking may be innate to some, it can also be developed and strengthened through practice.


Through the models and detailed explanations we have learned how the behavioral and transformational theories are a big part of innovation and organizations. The roles of discovery and delivery skills are crucial in an organization to innovate with ideas, research, and these skills are a company’s success to innovate and succeed. I feel comfortable with my discovery and delivery skills, my role now are to practice and work on my weaknesses. A candidate with all the skills in place; is better than one with just a few.

Barnard, C. (1938), new definition of leadership. Retrieved from http://changingminds.org/disciplines/leadership/theories/leadership_theories.htm Bass, B. M. (1990). From Transactional to Transformational Leadership: Learning to Share the Vision. Organizational Dynamics, 18(3): 19-32.

Bass, B. M. (1995). Transformational Leadership. Journal of Management Inquiry, 4(3): 293 298.

Behavioral Grid Retrieved from http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/classical-leadership-theories-lesson-quiz.html#lesson

Cohen, W. M. and Levinthal, D. A. (1990).Absorptive Capacity: A New Perspective on Learning and Innovation. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35: 128-152.

Damanpour, F. (1991). Organizational Innovation: A Meta-analysis of Effects of Determinants and Moderators. Academy of Management Journal, 34: 555-590.

Doyle, M. E., & Smith, M. K. (2001). Classical models of managerial leadership: Trait, behavioral, contingency and transformational theory. Retrieved from Infed Web site: http://www.infed.org/leadership/tradional_leadership.htm.

Dyer, J. H., Gregersen, H. B., & Christensen, C. M. (2009, December). The innovator’s DNA. Harvard Business Review, 87(12), 60–67.

Dyer, J. H., Gregersen, H. B., & Christensen, C. M. (2011). The innovator’s DNA: Mastering the five skills of disruptive innovators. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

Elkins, T. and Keller, R. T. (2003). Leadership in Research and Development Organizations: A Literature Review and Conceptual Framework. Leadership Quarterly, 14: 587-606.

Jung, D. I. (2001). Transformational and Transactional Leadership and Their Effects on Creativity in Groups. Creativity Research Journal, 13 (2): 185-195

Transformational model Retrieved from http://strategyofnarayan.blogspot.com/2013/04/assignment-of-week-23.html

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