This blog is part of a series profiling the key attributes of professionals who have elevated their leadership impact.

Organizations that want to remain competitive are constantly looking to innovate and evolve. The burden of meeting that necessary yet frustrating goal falls on teams and individuals, so next-level leaders successfully weave innovation into the fabric of everything they do. They constantly think innovatively, while encouraging and rewarding innovation among their staff members. While many great leaders have used innovation as a strategic advantage, Apple’s Former Founder Steve Jobs was a clear role model in this area.

What types of behaviors and characteristics can be found among truly innovative leaders?

• Connect innovation strategies to corporate objectives
• Proactively pursue new ideas, technology or business models that could hold value for the company or customer
• Know how to analyze many innovative ideas to identify the ones with the highest likelihood of success
• Question and challenge assumptions
• Spot patterns of change that could have huge implications for an industry, product or service
• Find fresh ways to repurpose or reuse proven strategies, methodologies and solutions
• Develop insightful strategies and improvements by observing customers as they directly interact with products/services
• Recognize the difference between creativity and innovation
• Successfully champion and manage new innovations within the organization

As you think about these evolved leadership characteristics, ask yourself some questions. Do I approach problems and processes as opportunities to improve them or deconstruct them? Do I pursue strategies and tactics that foster innovation? Do I think about innovation on a company-wide scale rather than something that just affects my team?

To be inspired by leaders who are clearly taking innovation to the next level, check out these links.

Let me know what you think! Coming soon…Next-Level Leadership Attribute #2: Resilient