To Foster Innovation, Cultivate a Culture of Intellectual Bravery
One of the leader’s most important job is to nourish a context in which people are given air cover in exchange for honesty. Where they are not afraid to speak up their minds, to brainstorm and to share their wildest ideas. A safe place, where they can display intellectual bravery – a willingness to disagree, dissent, or challenge the status quo in a setting of social risk in which you could be embarrassed, marginalised, or punished in some way.
Why is it so important for leaders not only to accept but – most importantly – to encourage intellectual bravery?
Because it is the ‘be or not to be’ of the organisation. When intellectual bravery disappears, disappear innovation, creativity, boldness in thinking and actions. And this is the first step to the organisation’s failure.
As the responsibility for creating a culture of intellectual bravery lies in leadership, encouraging psychological safety isn’t easy; it requires a high level of emotional intelligence and a highly controlled ego. However, as a leader, you set the tone, create the vibe, and define the prevailing norms and whether or not your company has a culture of intellectual bravery depends on your ability to follow these 7 rules.