Did you know you could be an innovator? Yeah, you. Here’s lookin’ at YOU, kid! But honestly, you don’t have to be a Jeff Bezos or Steve Jobs to be innovative, right where you are. In fact, you might already be more of an innovative employee than you realize. Even if you’re not, you can actually cultivate innovation in yourself. By doing so, you can become a standout within your company’s ranks and wow your boss like nobody’s business.
4 Traits of Innovative Employees
Not all innovators appear larger than life. Some sit back and hang in the background, quietly going about the business of applying their brains to achieve greatness.
1. Innovators Think for Themselves
In a world where it seems critical thinking and forming your own conclusions is a lost art, innovators are often three steps ahead of the pack. They learn fast and become masters of systems and processes while sharing what they know with others and continuing to evolve as the landscape changes.
2. Innovators are Consistent Performers
If you know, you know! Consistency is key in any success, and that includes innovation. Over-delivering on your performance day after day is more valuable than kicking something out of the park once and then failing to keep that momentum going. Think marathon, not a sprint.
3. Innovators are Creative
If creativity terrifies you more than it excites you, you might not be the best fit if your company seeks innovators. Innovative employees thrive on creativity and trying new things, which can be uncomfortable for those that are resistant to change or find a fast pace daunting.
4. Innovators Love Challenges
Innovative people love a good challenge and love to get their hands dirty solving challenging problems. Many might even believe there’s no problem without a solution. It’s just a matter of finding it! Since problem-solving helps businesses keep the forward momentum going, innovators are vital players in helping a company grow.
Of course, these aren’t the only traits of innovative employees. Other key traits include:
- Being humble
- Challenging the status quo
- Being insatiable learners
- Knowing how to prioritize
- Listening to understand
- Operating with a high EQ
- Coming to work committed and ready to rock
- Failing fast and failing forward
- Taking ownership
- Being strong leaders
- Seeking excellence, not perfection
Tips for Flexing Those Innovation Muscles
Focus on your service area when first beginning to flex. Everyone has to start somewhere, and by finding innovative ways to do your job in the day-to-day, you’ll show your employer that you’ve got what it takes to generate results. Soon they’ll be more willing to trust you with bigger ideas, but always start where you are.
Know What You’re Working With
Tools are vital when innovating; every asset counts, whether it’s customer data, existing processes, or even basic tools like your stapler. By knowing every resource you’ve got at your disposal, you give your brain more avenues to take in coming up with new ideas or solving a problem.
Build Your Tribe
You are the company you keep, and that includes the co-workers you spend time with. Build relationships with others on the team that are creative and innovative. Find ways to collaborate, regularly share ideas, and be willing to learn from each other, and you’ll find that the hive mind is much more powerful than your mind alone. Even better, you’ll have folks to celebrate or commiserate with when new ideas sink or swim.
Anyone can cultivate successful habits and work on becoming more innovative and creative within their company. Yes, it might feel a little uncomfortable at times if innovating is not your natural inclination, but it’s a skill that’s well worth developing. Not only will your company’s growth benefit from your increased creativity and abilities to problem solve, but your boss will also sit up and take note, too. When that happens, the sky’s the limit!