innovation not high priorityZenger Folkman, an authority in strengths-based leadership development, has announced the results of a new study, “What Makes Leaders Innovate? Learn the 10 Distinctive Behaviors,” on innovation which revealed that most leaders do not consider innovation a top priority.

“It is in our nature to create, to discover and to invent the next best product or process,” said Joe Folkman, president of Zenger Folkman. “However, many organizations struggle to create an environment that encourages innovation. They become so locked in past processes that leaders don’t dream of better ways to accomplish goals. Leaders need to understand the true value of an innovative workplace.”

Zenger Folkman’s study of 700,000 participants ranked the importance of innovation, among 15 other competencies.  Innovation was ranked number 13 out of the 16, in order of importance.  The top ranked competencies were: inspires and motivates others, displays high integrity, solve problems and analyze issues, drives for results, and communicates powerfully. Most of these top competencies focus on daily needs and not long-term outcomes.

“Next, we thought that perhaps leaders don’t rank innovation very highly but they are still effective at it,” said Jack Zenger, CEO of Zenger Folkman. “But it turns out the areas that we value the most are the ones we excel in.” In a group of over 50,000 leaders, who took a 360-degree assessment to measure their effectiveness on the 16 competencies, innovation was in 10th place. Their self-assessment scores ranked them in 8th place, and their direct manager scores fell to 12th place.

“If innovation is one of the most important issues for an organization, then more leaders need to focus on being more innovative. This requires a big shift in mindset that looking at improving the innovation will positively impact the day-to-day,” concluded Folkman.

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