Effective leadership requires you to be determined, courageous, persuasive and integral to name a few key attributes. Successful leaders are some of the most creative people in business.
They are the ones who focus on resourceful and imaginative solutions and drive teams and companies to grow and innovate. Here’s how to develop the skills to be a creative leader.
If you aspire to be this kind of leader, says Eric Wahl, entrepreneur, and author of Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius,
“I’ve found that to be a leader, you need to develop the same qualities as an artist.” What is needed is to use your creative intelligence to stay ahead of the crowd, to be nimble, and to inspire those around you to push yourself as well.”
How intrinsic to the success of an organization is creative leadership? The answer is obvious: According to data published in Fast Company, 60 percent of voted CEOs ranked creativity as an essential skill for leaders.
Creativity contributes to the ability to scale and expand, the flexibility to troubleshoot if necessary, and the bandwidth to mentor and empower a diverse team.
This brand of leadership is within reach of anyone, but it demands deliberate work. If you want to learn how to develop the qualities of a creative leader, these strategies will help guide you.
committed to learning
To maintain a competitive industry presence, you need to be immersed in continuing education, say Kenneth Mikkelsen, leadership consultant, and Harold Jarche, international consultant and speaker, in their Harvard Business Review article. They explain:
“Leaders must be comfortable with being in a position to become a perpetual beta mode. Leaders who stay on top of society’s changes do so by being receptive and able to learn.
In a time where the half-life of any skill is approximately Five years on, leaders have a responsibility to renew their approach to secure the relevance of their organizations.
If your goal is to be powerfully creative, you should never lose sight of a student’s mindset. Attend conferences, collaborate with other leaders and study the market. The more you know, the more creative you can be.
Fostering an ecosystem of collaboration
When your business culture prioritizes teamwork and works as a cohesive unit, the result is amazing.
With the constant sharing of ideas, talents, experiences and knowledge, the creativity that takes a business idea from good to great is more comfortable to cultivate.
Michael Stahl, CMO of HealthMarkets, explains, “It’s important to be inspired as a team to create something from ‘good’ to awesome. By sharing and embracing everyone’s skills and really wanting to see others get better and develop.” This will benefit all team members and help great things happen.”
To be more creative as a leader, you need to harness the power of the team. Prioritize collaboration by giving employees the tools they need to connect and the time they need to meet and share during the workday.
Seek Mentorship from Other Creatives
Successful executives and business owners share a common trait: They surround themselves with other creative-minded leaders. According to a Forbes report, 75 percent of entrepreneurs attribute their success to mentorship.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to seek advice from people who are already innovating in your field. Simply being close to them will teach you how to view business solutions and management responsibilities through a transparent and resourceful lens, informing all aspects of how you inspire and strengthen your team.
Start with your immediate network—you might already be connected to someone who wants to give you advice. If you’re not sure if someone is a good fit, ask potential mentors for coffee and remember that you play a role in this partnership as well.
Offering support in return allows you to provide them with value, whether you set up an introduction or provide insight into another area of the business.
It can be easy to be in a constant state of motion when you are the leader. With so much to do, you are often caught bouncing from one meeting to another, from one project to another. However, it’s hard to develop creativity when you don’t have a chance to slow down.
In Mindful, Krystal Goh, a collaborator in the Applied Neuroscience Lab, says that there are four stages to the creative brain:
Preparation: Coming up with ideas using different types of thinking and brainstorming.
Incubation: Let your thoughts settle and set the stage for impressive insights.
Illumination: Moment of creative insight; “Ah-ha!” Moment.
Verification: Less imagination, more cognitive and logical reasoning to bring the idea to life.
The Key to Cultivating Creativity: Using Mindfulness to Balance All Four Stages.