Innovation LeadershipSt. Gregory, we are creating leaders and innovators for the 21st century, and, as part of that, trying to be thoughtful and deliberative about what we mean by 21st century leadership.   One trustee, the esteemed former university president George Davis, suggested we merge the parallel tracks of leadership and innovation, and set a goal of creating innovative leaders and leading innovators.   For now, anyway, we have not adopted that path, but it certainly still intrigues me.    So, I was taken with this list that I encountered on a blog called Blogging Innovation, a list that does a charming job of identifying differences in leadership models and offers a twentyfirst century view of “innovative leadership” which I think we will do well to borrow from as a model for the type of leaders we seek to mold.    As I commonly do, I have put in bold the sections I particularly admire.  (And I think it is fair to say that this “innovative leadership” model is not just something I aspire to for our students as they become leaders, but also something I aspire to in my own role as St. Gregory’s leader.)

The command and control leader… The innovative leader…
Leads from the front. Leads from the side.
Directs. Inspires.
Checks and controls. Trusts and delegates.
Improves effectiveness and efficiency. Finds new approaches.
Thinks he knows best (and often does). Harnesses the abilities of others.
Has a strong sense of direction and purpose. Has a clear vision and communicates it.
Prioritizes operational over strategic issues. Prioritizes strategic over operational issues.
Gives directions and orders. Asks questions and solicits suggestions.
Treats staff as subordinates. Treats staff as colleagues.
Is decisive, often without prior consultation. Ponders and solicits input before making decisions.
Builds a team who can execute policy and implement plans. Builds a team who can create and innovate.
Instructs. Empowers.
Hires based on experience, track record and qualifications. Hires based on attitude, creativity and latent capabilities.
Discourages dissent. Encourages constructive dissent.
Cares about results above all. Cares about ideas, peoples and the vision.
Promotes himself as the leader and figurehead. Shares exposure and prestige with the team.
Encourages action, activity and work. Encourages ideas, innovation and fun.
Rewards performance. Rewards entrepreneurial action.
Is numbers-oriented and analytical. Is ideas-oriented, analytical and intuitive.
Sees technology as a means to do things better, faster and cheaper. Sees technology as a means to do things entirely differently.
Minimizes risk. Takes calculated risks.
Abhors failure. Is comfortable with failure.