Innovative Leadership Characteristics: A Builder

In this episode, we’ll discuss more innovative leadership characteristics. Today we’ll focus on that of a Builder.

As a leader, I like to think of myself as an organizational builder. And within that role, there are 3 Different Types of Builders.

1. People Builder

Being a People Builder refers to a leader’s job to coach and help grow each individual person.  There are 3 key ingredients to being a good People Builder: Information, Experience, and Empowerment.

  • Information: Does this person have the right information?  Access to the right information is pivotal in making the right decisions.  As a leader, am I being transparent enough with my people?
  • Experience: Does this person have the right experience?  If your people do not have the right experience, the question is: how might I get this person the right experience?  Do I have access to a coach, mentor, or vendor to quickly expand or augment their experience?
  • Empowerment: Does this person have clarity around their role?  If people don’t have the right empowerment, they don’t know where their role stops and starts. So have I empowered my people enough?
2. Team Builder

Building a team is really comprised of two steps: getting the right people on the bus (hiring) and getting them in the right seat (role). At City Innovation Labs, we hire based on 4 C’s: Character, Chemistry, Calling, and Competence.

  • Character: This is the most important: Does this person have a high level of integrity?
  • Chemistry: Does this person gel with the team – this is equally critical.  You want someone that not only has high integrity but is a good cultural fit.
  • Calling: Is this person passionate about your mission, vision, and their role within the organization?  Will they jump out of bed every morning because of their passion?
  • Competence: Does this person have the technical skills to complete the job with excellence?

While the 4 C’s ensures we have the right team on the bus, it is also critically important to assess your team’s strengths. This will help determine what seat on the bus is the best fit for each team member to maximize the team’s results.

3. Bridge Builder

This role refers to interconnected relationships between teams (both internal and external).  Bridge Builder acts as the glue between each team and team member. Every team has its own set of goals, and oftentimes these goals are at odds with each other (even if they are aligned to the same vision). The importance of a Bridge Builder is to help reconcile and align these different goals. 

A good tool to help aid in the work of bridge-building is to use proper ‘framing’. Think about each teams’ goals – where is the common ground?  Work to both find and socialize the common ground in order to unify these disparities.  If they are completely contradictory, there might be some work needed to tweak each teams’ goals to ensure better alignment and build a bridge between them.

Thanks for listening as I talked about the role of a builder in the context of building an innovative team.  If you’ve gotten value out of this video or if you have any feedback – I’d love to hear it, so comment and like. Also, visit our blog ( to view a list of recommended readings to further explore the innovative leader’s role of Builder. Thanks and God bless.

Recommended Readings on Being a Builder:
Other Innovative Leadership Characteristics:

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