Are you asking questions that communicate that you want new ideas to help customers and the company?
In my book The Leadership Solution, I discussed how leaders can use questions to signal their priorities. If you want to improve speed to market, ask about speed to market issues. If you want to focus on customers, ask about customers.
If you want to increase innovation, ask about new ideas.
Two companies I’ve worked with recently have used employee surveys to try to surface barriers to innovation. Sure enough, the questions related to management’s interest in new ideas received low scores (56% and 38% respectively).
If you want to be more innovative, you absolutely must be viewed as someone who wants fresh new ways to take care of the customer.
The question I’ve always liked best is: “What do you think?”