[Series 6/8] Inspire Your Managers To Take Risks

wazoku Blog

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.”  Ken Robinson

So here we are at the start of another year, determined to make this year more successful than the last. Now that your team are gradually returning back to the office from their festivities, I suspect your main focus will be how to motivate them to have the same focus. Try instead to think about what it will take to get the best out of your teams.

I believe that one area that is often overlooked is the need to create an environment where your managers are willing to take risks, to feel free to make mistakes and to know that they have the space needed to learn from failure. With the right guidance and leadership from your managers, this will filter down through to your teams.

Your managers are the life-blood of the organisation. They are the people charged with ensuring the engine room of the business keeps powering on in the direction set by the C-Level executives. As the success of your organisation’s growth strategy relies on these individuals, it’s vital that you prioritise their well-being, motivation and their understanding of what they can achieve for themselves and the wider business.

Here are a few things that you can do to inspire your managers:

  • Include innovation in every mid-management job description – this will not only ensure that you hire those that share the value of innovation, but will naturally build a more innovative culture as a result. Ensure new employees and those stepping into managerial roles understand how vital this is to the business.
  • Ensure training and mentoring is there for mid-managers – firstly to achieve their own objectives, but also to strive beyond these and to impact the wider business. Match skills across departments to enable cross-functional training and mentoring where possible.
  • Make innovation part of mid-managers’ annual employee reviews – Targets focus the mind, and setting SMART goals around innovation can help make sure new ideas are adopted throughout the working year.
  • Don’t punish failure – Managers need to feel safe to try new ideas out and to fail quickly where things aren’t working. But most importantly to see how their peers are succeeding where innovation has been put into practice.
  • Be prepared for innovation – Too much innovation falls at the first hurdle, so make sure there is a process in place to request larger budgets for ideas that could truly revolutionise your business.

By inspiring your mid-managers to take risks; to push for investments in new technologies, to listen to ideas from those on the front line and to actually try out these ideas, you won’t fail to create more innovative thinking across your team and the company.

Here’s a link to a video from Victor Fromm from Abellio, discussing how Everyday Innovation (the concept of thinking about innovation on a daily basis)  is managed within his organisation:


Look out for our post next week where we will guide you through how to carry great ideas through to completion.