Does Your Leadership Support Innovation?

file0001976108977“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it.” —Steve Jobs

By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Innovation and the Leadership Pyramid

How is innovation dependent on the leadership pyramid for the support and connections necessary for success? Innovation needs the abilities and resources that those in a position of authority have to support creativity and the implementation of innovation throughout the organization. The access that leaders have to information, influence, and resources is essential to the process of innovation.

Innovation needs support and an organizational climate focused on excellence in order to be successful. For innovation to occur, team members must be able and willing to cooperate in the development and application of new ideas. The foundation needed to provide the resources and support for the collaboration that enables innovation must be provided by leadership. So, how can your leadership support innovation?

See through the informational noise

Efforts to innovate should be associated with a clear purpose, outlined objectives, and a shared vision. This clarity and direction from leaders guides innovative efforts in a direction that will provide value to organizational goals. To be successful, innovative efforts should be informed by organizational and market data and information. The vast amounts of available data can overwhelm those trying to sort through it. Leaders often have historical experience with the information which allows them to sort through the noise and identify the key information to support innovative efforts more easily.

Successful innovation requires that a diverse group of people be brought together and encouraged to share information and participate in the process of innovation. Organizational leaders have the authority to determine which individuals participate and what information is shared. Those in a leadership position often have the big picture understanding that is useful in determining who should participate and what information will be beneficial to innovative efforts.

Leaders must manage the knowledge resources of the organization. To successfully innovate, one needs access to accurate information, the capability to connect the informational dots, and the ability to filter pertinent from arbitrary information. Leaders have access to the data and resources necessary to help innovators see through the informational noise

The ability to execute

The end goal of innovation is execution. It is the responsibility of the leader to decide which projects are right for implementation. Successful innovation can only take place when leaders design organizational processes that support innovation and the implementation of new ideas. Leaders also have the ability to support learning from failed attempts to implement innovative ideas rather than instilling a fear of failure.

For innovative ideas to be successful, leaders must provide the practical support for implementation. They must supply the necessary resources to test new ideas. Leaders must manage the people, time, knowledge, and resources allocated to innovative efforts and implementation. Leaders have the authority and resources necessary to execute on innovative ideas.

Build a culture that supports innovation

A culture that supports innovation provides a safe place to experiment, to fail, and to learn. It must emphasize collaboration and the continual pursuit of excellence. The leader must provide the support and climate that encourages creativity and curiosity that facilitates innovation. The responsibility for developing a high-performance, innovative culture falls on organizational leaders.

A culture that supports knowledge sharing and collaborative work practices increases innovation. This type of culture eliminates silos and supports ongoing, open communication. It gives people the opportunity to collaborate by providing permission, time, and resources. An innovative culture rewards the sharing of ideas and knowledge. Successful innovation is encouraged when learning becomes entrenched in the culture.

People must feel safe to make mistakes and then talk about them openly so others can learn from them. An organization that supports successful innovation has a culture where shared decision-making, experimenting, learning, and development are emphasized. Developing a culture that supports learning and diversity has an innovative competitive advantage. This type of culture allows innovation to grow from shared experiences and differing conceptual lenses. Leaders have the influence necessary to build a culture that supports innovation.

Collaboration not competition

Organizational leadership should support innovative collaboration over a mindset of competition. Collaboration requires the sharing and exploration of knowledge across departments, roles, and regions. The contribution of diverse expertise enhances organizational learning, the creation of knowledge, and complex problem-solving. Competition can stifle the ability to share and build on the knowledge and experiences of others. While competition may offer the short-term satisfaction of a personal victory, the satisfaction gleaned from collaborative success can be long-lasting.

Organizational policies should not be overly restrictive in the access that is allowed to pertinent data. Policies should not foster a culture that encourages secrecy and internal competition. Collaboration should challenge ideas in a positive, co-creative way. An important factor in innovation is the support of leadership in encouraging team diversity and the sharing of information to enhance creativity and problem-solving through collaborative efforts rather than competition. Leaders have the influence to set the climate of innovation as collaborative rather than competitive.


Successful innovation is dependent on the data, resources, authority, and influence that leaders can provide. Individuals in a position of authority have the ability to see through the informational noise, execute on ideas, build a supportive culture, and encourage collaboration rather than competition. Become the leader who provides the direction, support, influence, and resources necessary for successful innovation in your organization.


© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at



Why Do Your Employees Hate You?

Hate written out in red beads

“A good leader can engage in a debate frankly and thoroughly, knowing that at the end he and the other side must be closer, and thus emerge stronger. You don’t have that idea when you are arrogant, superficial, and uninformed.” —Nelson Mandela


By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


I am surprised when managers act shocked to find out that their employees don’t like them. You have to remember that the way you think affects your behavior and your behavior determines how your employees react to you. If you don’t pay close attention to your thoughts this can become a vicious cycle. So, why do your employees hate you?

You think your title makes you a leader

I can tell you that one of the biggest factors that causes employees to hate you as their manager is if you think that your title makes you a leader. You don’t become a leader just because you get placed in a management position. Leadership is something that you grow into and earn. Chances are that if you think your title makes you a leader, you also think it entitles you to power. You may have control over rewards or consequences that give you the power to accomplish short-term tasks. This, however, does not equate to long-term power that is earned through respect.

They don’t trust you

If you don’t trust your employees, they won’t trust you. People like people they trust. Animosity is created when your employees’ notice that you think you know more than them, you stop listening to what they have to say, and you are always keeping score. When it appears that you do not trust them, they stop engaging with you even when you ask them questions. They don’t feel like they can be themselves around you. You can’t command trust and respect, you have to give it first and then earn it.

You fail to build relationships

Even if you had strong relationships at some point, when you were promoted you may have become distant and bureaucratic. Your relationships may have become superficial and fake; employees can see right through your facade. After making the move into a management position, it is easy to forget what it’s like to be the low man on the totem pole or working on the front lines. You fail to build relationships on an individual basis where each employee knows that you care about them personally. If you start relying on email as your main form of communication you lose that face-to-face interaction that can be so important to relationship building. You don’t encourage, welcome, ask for, or act on feedback which reinforces the perception that you don’t care what your employees have to say.

You have something to prove

You think that leadership requires you to make sure everyone knows you’re in charge. In fact, it is quite the opposite. If you need to prove that you are in charge, you’re not a leader. You feel you have something to prove, all the time. You’re smarter, stronger, braver, or more powerful; it’s always something. You default to the use of fear and intimidation when you feel you’re not getting the respect you think you deserve. And, you never admit when you are wrong. No one likes a know-it-all. If you are always trying to one-up your employees, chances are they will start to hate you.

You don’t value their contributions

When you think you’re all that, you tend to minimize the contributions of others. When you don’t recognize the value of your employees’ contributions or reward them for a job well done their distaste for you grows. If you don’t recognize their value you will fail to challenge them or engage their creativity. Everyone wants to feel that their contributions are valued and that their efforts are worthwhile.

Turn it Around

So, now you know some of the main reasons your employees might hate you, what can you do to turn it around? Start by recognizing that you become a manager by being promoted or hired into that position, but you become a leader by focusing on the needs of others rather than gaining power for yourself. Show your employees that you trust them and their abilities, communicate openly, and stop keeping score. Remember that you are not a leader if you need to prove that you are in charge. And finally, recognize that every employee adds value. Leadership is influence, and you can’t influence those who hate you. Pay close attention to your thoughts for they will become your behavior. Turn it around.



© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Where Does Your Power Come From?

DSCN7614“Power is like being a lady… if you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.” —Margaret Thatcher



By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


Sources of Power

Power is the ability to influence the behavior of others, to overcome resistance, and to get people to do things they may not otherwise do. There are two main bases of power: positional power and personal power. You can access these bases through several sources. You can possess positional power as either legitimate, reward, or coercive. Your personal power can be either expert or referent. Each of these forms of power can achieve differing degrees of effectiveness based on the specific situation you are facing.

Just as you use various leadership styles to motivate others and get things done, you are in a better position to influence others if you have access to different sources of power. So, where does your power come from?

Positional power

Positional power is based on your rank within the structure of your organization and is granted to you by someone who is your superior. This form of power is task oriented and focused on giving orders without asking subordinates for their input or ideas. Much of its effectiveness is dependent on your ability to either reward or punish those who work under you. Use of positional power often results in low work satisfaction, lack of commitment, high job stress, high turnover, and even sabotage.

Legitimate power

Legitimate power is a form of positional power that can also be referred to as formal authority. This source of power relies solely on holding a position of responsibility. With legitimate power, you have the right to command others based on your position within the structural hierarchy of the organization.

Reward power

Reward power is a form of positional power that is based on your ability to control tangible benefits such as parking spaces, flexible work schedules, promotions, or bonuses. Reward power operates on the desires of others. When you have the authority to determine who will receive rewards or eliminate unpleasant penalties, you have reward power.

Coercive power

Coercive power is a form of positional power that is based on your ability to punish, discipline, or withhold rewards when subordinates do not act in accordance with commands or requirements. Coercive power operates on other’s fears. When you have the authority to determine and deliver punishment or withhold desired rewards, you have coercive power.

Personal power

Personal power is based on individual qualities. It is not necessarily given by superiors, but instead, by subordinates themselves. This form of power is relationship oriented. Personal power is held by individuals who behave in ways that motivate and inspire others. They create a supportive organizational environment where they recognize and acknowledge the individual needs of others. They are active listeners who encourage two-way communication and focus their energy on helping others grow. Use of personal power usually results in higher motivation and productivity, lower stress levels, and stronger commitment.

Expert power

Expert power is a form of personal power that stems from the unique expertise, specific knowledge, or skill set of an individual. If you possess expert power, you influence others because you have specific qualities and proficiencies that they value. You are the go-to person for advice. You are an expert as solving problems or performing tasks.

Referent power

Referent power is a form of personal power that stems from an individual’s charisma and reputation. It is derived from personal characteristics that result in admiration from others. If you possess referent power, you have the ability to influence others based on your charisma and reputation. People like you and admire your accomplishments. They believe in your causes and see you as a role-model. People trust you and follow you willingly.

Where Does Your Power Come From?

Leadership is influence and power is the tool that gives you the ability to influence the behavior of others. Both positional and personal power can be effective in specific situations. The task oriented nature of positional power is effective at accomplishing short-term, production oriented goals but can have a negative effect on job satisfaction and motivation in the long run. Being relationship oriented, personal power builds a strong culture and increases productivity.

It is important to evaluate and understand your sources of power. Which one will work best based on your current situation and goals? Which one will serve you best in the long-run? By answering these questions, you will become more effective at influencing others.

So, where does YOUR power come from?



© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at


Why Do I Feel So Overwhelmed?

Clock fleur de lis“Time management is an oxymoron. Time is beyond our control, and the clock keeps ticking regardless of how we lead our lives. Priority management is the answer to maximizing the time we have.” —John C. Maxwell


By Elizabeth Stincelli, DM


The Hamster Wheel

I hear over and over again comments along the lines of, “Day in and day out, the hamster wheel turns, and I have gotten nowhere.” I feel this way myself at times and I sit and wonder why I feel so overwhelmed. I sympathize with the frustration, the feeling that there is never enough time in the day.

So many factors play into us becoming overwhelmed: the distractions, the interruptions, the meetings, and constantly changing priorities. And, it never seems to get easier; the more valuable you become, the more the demands that are made on your time.

So, if you want to get off the hamster wheel: first, come to terms and get comfortable with the fact that it is not possible to complete your entire to-do list every day; second, develop these healthy habits that will help you manage your priories.

Start out on the right foot

Develop the habit of getting into the office early to get the day started out on the right foot. Try to get into the office at least one hour before anyone else. This hour is often the only peace you will have all day and you might get more done in that short period than the whole rest of the day. Getting in early can be more productive than working late because after the day has turned to chaos, you end up exhausted with your mind going 100 different directions. First thing in the morning things are calm and you can think straight.


The next habit is identifying the must-dos on your to-do list. Now, everyone says that everything on their to-do list is a must-do. But, what are the absolute must-dos for tomorrow? Keep a running to-do list so that nothing slips through the cracks, but each night, before you leave the office, identify the three must-dos for the next day. A list any longer than three will overwhelm you and will be unrealistic to complete. With a list longer than three, you end your day feeling like you have failed. Get real about your must-dos, get in early, and get them tackled.

Set boundaries

The habit of setting boundaries is imperative if you want to stop feeling so overwhelmed. Get in the habit if setting aside time in 90-minute blocks to focus on your must-dos. Sometimes it is difficult to focus, undisturbed for 90-minutes; but if you learn to really set some boundaries and stick to them you can do it and it will make a world of difference. Whether it’s a closed door or a do not disturb sign, get people to understand that you are unavailable during this 90-minutes every day and that you will get with them as soon as you can.

Meetings are another opportunity to set boundaries. They are our biggest time wasters. While the demand of meetings on your time might not be 100% in your control, do whatever you can to minimize the number of meetings you must attend and help them to run as efficiently as possible. You have to teach people that you will not drop everything for a last minute meeting unless it is a significant matter.

Batch tasks

In our always connected world, distractions and interruptions are priority management killers. We waste so much time bouncing back and forth between emails, voicemails, social media, and the task at hand. Develop the habit of batching tasks such as checking voicemail and emails so that you sit down for 20 minutes and go through them and then don’t check again until you can sit for another 20 minutes. Getting distracted by email or phone calls for a minute here and a minute there eats away at your day quickly.


As we take on more and more responsibilities, it becomes important to develop the habit of delegation. Look at your team; find a bright, energetic, ambitious team member who you can engage, mentor, and delegate tasks too. This not only helps clear your plate, it’s a great opportunity for your team members to be challenged and gain experience that will benefit them in the future. Just make sure you don’t delegate so much to one person that they become overwhelmed themselves.


And then there is the habit of communication. First, you must get a clear understanding of what your priorities should be from your manager’s point-of-view. You must also clearly communicate the priorities to your team members. You must communicate regularly with your manager, keeping them in the loop. Let them know what you are working on and which team members are working on which projects. Communication becomes even more important if you feel that it is not possible to meet all of the demands that are being placed on you.

Conquer the Overwhelm

And last, but most important, take care of yourself!!!!! You cannot give 100% if you are working 13-14 hours, seven days a week. You have to draw the line somewhere. You will be much more effective in the time you are working if you have time to rest, recover, and restore. Take a few deep breaths, develop some healthy priority management habits, set some boundaries, make time to take care of yourself, and conquer the overwhelm.


© 2015 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at