Myth #7 Innovation is not part of my job or background

Job descriptions are important in the workplace as guideline both for employees and administration and as well as for HR to assess work relations and ethical practices. Job descriptions are the proverbial “box” inside an organization. However, seen from the angle of culture, it is the administration, particularly the “boss” or CEO, who sets job descriptions in the tone of the culture that could be validations of employees or threats.

This is where innovation could rise to importance in a culture of trust and openness. It is not that the CEO states that “this month we will try innovating” but that he develops a climate of freedom of autonomy and psychological safety for employees to take control of their work with appropriate responsibility and self-determination. Once this trusting climate is in place, employees can become engaged and can “think out of the box” as they learn more about the philosophy of the company and the supportive relationships of colleague interdependence.

Though a job description remains in place for the protective purpose it has, the culture of the company invites open exchange of thoughts and ideas when relationships are supported by trust at all levels. Innovation is a cultural issue that has very little to do with job descriptions.

Innovation can happen with any engaged employee or inside an especially dynamic team in the pursuit of a collaborative project. When the CEO assures the safety of employees, there is room for failures so that employees can laugh at mistakes and improve performance.

This is how innovation develops as a leadership issue, whether from on top or from the floor with eager employees coming up with invaluable insights. The leader is the person who takes the initiative to put forth an innovative insight that could escalate into new growth and development. This is far beyond the job description.