Innovative leaders have to know the basic technical knowledge which can be expressed in verbal statements and analytical formulas, like mathematics, physics, chemistry, economics, politics, history and language. This kind of knowledge is called explicit knowledge or technical knowledge in the literature. They also should know the values knowledge including social values, ideas, intuitions, imaginations, and beliefs
Many other innovative leaders like Atatürk, Lenin, Mao, Castro, Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and others have utilized knowledge as the main force for their great changes. Contemporary leaders have to educate themselves and their followers continuously to obtain knowledge for successful innovative leadership practices.
The Talents, Skills, and Values Necessary for Innovative Leadership Knowledge plays an important role in innovative leadership success.
But, talents and skills are crucial for successful innovation. Talents such as being smart and visionary enable leaders to select the right actions and do them right. These qualities carry innovative leaders ahead of their competitors and ahead of their time. Talents provide superior competitive advantages for understanding, thinking, analyzing the present environment and seeing the future better to develop superior strategies and implement them successfully. Most innovative leaders have talents by birth, but develop them by starting at early ages and by learning, doing, and repeating them continuously.
The Willpower to be an Innovative Leader
The willpower of a person to become an innovative leader is probably the major determinant of successful innovative leadership. Arnold M. Ludwig investigated 1941 political leaders of the twentieth century from 199 countries in his book King of the Mountain. He concluded that the reasons of aspiring leaders for seeking high office are simply rationalizations by them to do what they are socially and biologically driven to do. They are visionary and dream (vision) to be the best leader. They want to reshape society and confirm their vision. They all have the strong will to become the most powerful and want to be the great leader (King of the Mountain) for gaining ultimate power and risking their lives to keep it. Many successful leadership studies conclude that the willpower of a person is the main driving force for becoming an innovative leader.
The Role of Followers for Innovative Leadership
Innovation is a social phenomenon; its development and adoption depend, mainly, on the followers (people) of an organization and nation. The followers are the main force for innovative change. The intensity of their needs and the tensions of the problems in their organizations and nations demand innovative change. However, the followers should have to have the knowledge to be aware of the need for change to be able to demand it. The followers, who have more knowledge, demand, develop, and adopt more innovations than those who have less knowledge. The people in the United States, Japan, and Scandinavian nations have relatively better knowledge and were able to develop and adopt more innovations. They were also able to develop advanced technologies, higher economic development, and political democracy than other developing and underdeveloped nations through innovations.
The Role of Environmental Conditions for Innovative Leadership
External conditions are also important factors for developing successful innovations. In order to gain a competitive advantage in the global market, developed nations try to develop new innovations. Meanwhile, most of the developing nations whose internal conditions are not favourable for innovation try to transfer and adapt the successful innovations to improve their development conditions for competing in international markets. Some of these nations eventually become an innovator and developed nation like Japan.
*This interview is covered by Swiftnlift Business Magazine