Creative Leadership Essentials

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In today’s world, many corporate leaders are ranking creativity as the most important leadership quality for success in business, even outweighing integrity and global thinking. Why?

It’s quite simple really: By being more creative, you are able to abandon rigid structures, to think out of the box and to look at things in new ways. In other words, you can solve problems by seeing things others don’t. This in turn enhances your agility, a skill that comes in handy at a time when companies struggle to navigate a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous.

Traditionally, when you think of creativity, you might be thinking of being inventive, using your imagination, creating something new, having a vision, and being resourceful. Creativity in leadership goes beyond that. Whether you are seeking to increase profit, to become more innovative, improve employee engagement or expand your product offering – as a creative leader, you have the ability to map out a path to reach new levels of success that others don’t even see.

So, what makes you a creative leader?
  1. You are open to new types of problem-solving. By looking at problems from diverse angles and with an open mind, a creative approach can lead to new or original solutions.
  2. You problem solve at the basis. You encourage staff to brainstorm ideas and you empower them to tackle problems where they arise, rather than only implement management initiatives top down.
  3. You encourage unique perspectives. Embracing an unlikely viewpoint can allow for new and exciting concepts or avenues to induce new and exciting changes to help your organization thrive and grow.
  4. You reframe ‘failure’ as learning. The biggest inhibitor to creativity in the workplace is people’s fear of failure and you role model smart risk management without suffocating creativity.
  5. You have the courage to be a pioneer. Venturing out to discover uncharted territory takes guts and being a creative leader is not easy but extremely rewarding!
And how can you improve your creativity in leadership? Here are 5 tips:
  1. Seek creative vision. Focus on big-picture ideas, reflect on how you arrived at that point, elevate your thinking. We often refer to this as ‘stepping out of the weed and jumping in the helicopter’ – zoom out and seek a broader view.
  2. Continue to educate yourself. Be pro-active and keep learning – the power to grow lies within you! Take advantage of educational resources and programs available, these can range from articles, videos, conferences, to courses that teach strategies for creative leadership in the workplace.
  3. Schedule time to be creative. Make occasional appointments with yourself to clear your mind and spend idle time doing nothing. Yes, you read that correctly. Creativity needs space, so go for a walk, spend time in nature, doodle, daydream or meditate. Anything that quiets your mind away from a busy office will open up new mental capacity for creative thinking.
  4. Expose yourself to new ideas and get inspired. From time to time, do something to surround yourself with new input, whether that is visiting a museum or exhibition, reading a magazine that you wouldn’t normally read, engaging in a conversation with someone of a different opinion or traveling to foreign lands… stories, people, nature – there is endless wonder if you just walk around with your eyes (and mind) wide open.
  5. Share knowledge and inspire others. Surround yourself with other creative spirits, share new insights and document your thought processes to others. Create content that might inspire others to drop their guard and become more creative, thus accelerating organizational growth and evolution.

In order to thrive, an organization must flex, adapt, and create its own path to success. Creativity (and investing in creative leaders) opens up opportunities in problem-solving, and strengthens and inspires teams to be innovative and deliver business results. With this in mind, creativity in leadership is imperative for modern companies to survive in an ever-changing ecosystem.

This article is the first of three creative articles where whiskk, a strategy and ideation duo, will deep-dive into two key questions: Is creative leadership identified and leveraged for growth within your business, and why creative leadership will shape the talent of tomorrow.

Creativity is one of the critical skills that have been identified for Next Generation Leaders. Learn how to become a great leader in our ASPIRE program powered by GAIA Insights.


Creative Leadership: Time for change | Linda Green | TEDxLiège (15 minute video)

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