Hi, I’m Nicola from The People Mentor, and in today’s podcast, I want to talk to you about the importance of creativity in leadership.
When you think about the desirable traits that an effective leader has, what’s on your list? A good strategist? Assertiveness? The ability to stay calm under pressure?
All of these are important, but would you necessarily add creativity to the list?
In an uncertain world that’s constantly changing, creative leadership is not only desirable, it’s absolutely necessary.
Creative leadership is all about being able to come up with innovative solutions and bring them to fruition, even in the face of great uncertainty. Leaders who can unite their teams behind a clear purpose and give them direction even when a lot of things are unknown are the most successful and effective leaders.
So why is creative leadership so badly needed?
Well the main reason is that the world is constantly changing. Technological advances are happening all of the time and businesses who don’t adapt and innovate, or who lose their bearings will get left behind.
Creative leaders can take action in uncertain situations without necessarily knowing whether their ideas and solutions will work, and they are not afraid to fail many times in order to find out what does work.
Another thing that’s changing is the world of business as we know it. Gone are the times when businesses can keep on doing what they have always done. They need to look at things differently and be willing to make decisions and adjust as they go when things inevitably change. If they don’t, they’ll stagnate, and there are always plenty of innovative competitors willing to step into their place.
Creative leaders are not afraid to overhaul everything and pivot in response to change.
What employees want from working for a business is also changing. Younger people entering the workforce aren’t too concerned about working for a company with a big name and a pension plan. And they aren’t just motivated by salary either. They want to work for businesses that have a clear mission and purpose.
Creative leaders can create the right kind of environment to attract the best people and inspire them with their vision.
So creative leadership is important, but how can leaders nurture creativity in the workplace?
Creativity isn’t just about having a brainstorming session here and there, it’s about building a culture where people can express ideas freely and where innovation is embraced, not feared.
Leaders can start by encouraging employees to come up with ideas. Ask people for ideas and solutions. Ask open-ended questions in meetings. Encourage ‘creativity breaks’ so people can come up with ideas for discussion at your next meeting.
It’s also important to make sure that people are comfortable putting forward their ideas. Make it clear to your team that no idea is out of bounds and ask people to refrain from shooting down other people’s ideas with statements like ‘That will never work!’.
As a creative leader, it’s your job to stand by any ideas you think are really good. Evaluate the idea and consider the pros and cons, and remember, some members of your team might be risk averse, so outline clearly how the benefits could potentially outweigh the risks. Creative leaders always have plan B, C, and D anyway if this idea doesn’t work out as you had hoped.
Another thing you can do to inspire creativity in your team is to break away from your usual habits by doing things like having an away day or learning something new together. Anything that gets your team out of their usual routine or takes them out of their comfort zone can spark creativity.
Often deadlines and day-to-day pressures can kill creativity, so when team members do offer creative contributions, be sure to celebrate and award them accordingly. Once they know how much you value them, they’ll be more likely to contribute in the future.
Speaking of day-to-day pressures, stress can really hurt creativity. Stressed brains get tunnel vision and can’t think clearly, so do what you can to monitor stress in your team and offer support where it’s needed.
Don’t underestimate the impact of the surroundings on creativity, either. Sterile, grey cubicles don’t exactly inspire creativity so do what you can to make the workplace more relaxed and conducive to innovative thought. A splash of relaxing colour and some indoor plants here and there can make a surprising difference.
Creative leadership starts with you, leading from the front and modelling creative behaviour. Come up with ideas yourself, share information, and ask thought-provoking questions to get creativity flowing.
When it comes to your team, don’t overlook the importance of diversity. The more perspectives and viewpoints you have from different backgrounds, the more likely it is that the business will truly be able to innovate and move forward as we navigate this ever-changing world.
Has 2020 made you think about how you can be more creative and take things from good to great in your business?
I can help.
Do you have some great ideas about how to take the business onward and upwards, but have no clue about where to start?
As the Mentor for winning teams, I can help you identify what’s needed for you, your team, and the business to truly flourish.
My bespoke packages of training, workshops, and support will help you build and develop well-supported, engaged, and energised teams that will supercharge your business performance and profitability.
I know what you are thinking, you’re feeling nervous at the thought of investing in anything right now and that’s completely understandable, but think of my help, guidance, and support as being a way to reduce your expenses and save money in the slightly longer term.
Creative leadership attracts the best people and rallies them behind you and the business, and that can only mean success.
Get in touch for a chat about exactly what’s possible.
I hope you enjoyed this podcast, and I’ll see you next time.
This is The People Mentor signing off.