Creativity – A Leader’s Secret Sauce!
When it comes to leaders who are making a difference, who are the leaders that come to mind?
I have a hunch that they are leaders that exhibit a whole lot of creativity!
Perhaps someone like Gabe Lyons, the founder of Q Ideas, as well as Q Commons – a live learning experience that challenges people to stay curious, think well, and advance good in their communities. The goal of Q Ideas is to see the Christian faith become increasingly attractive, credible and influential in the church, our communities, and the next generation. His vision has become a global movement. Ironically, prior starting Q Ideas, he was embarrassed to be called a Christian.
Malcom Gladwell, a best-selling author, has influenced countless individuals around the world as a result of sharing his innovative perspective. An interesting side-note, his grades were not high enough for graduate school. Switching gears, he attempted to pursue a career in advertising only be rejected by every advertising agency he applied to.
Oprah Winfrey is considered to be one of the most (if not the most) influential women in the world. Even if you don’t agree with her in every area, you can’t argue with the fact that she successfully overcame poverty and other challenges like a champ! She’s the first African American woman billionaire. Not bad for someone who was born to a teenage single mother, began in poverty, and faced challenges that would devastate many.
What do I see as the common thread in these three individuals and many other successful leaders? They all approach obstacles with creativity and determination – a winning combination!
What exactly do I mean by creativity? I am referring to a leader’s ability to…
- Come up with innovative solutions to tough problems
- Adapt and THRIVE in an ever-changing world
- Think outside the box
- Embrace fresh perspectives that allow them to escape the rigid way that something has always been done
- Be open minded
- Make “lemonade out of lemons”
- Learn from failure and keep on going!
- Invite ideas and collaboration from all levels within an organization
- Experiment and take risks
- Challenge the status quo
- Be resourceful
- Use their imagination
- Challenge themselves intellectually
- Embrace mindfulness
- Inspire in inventive ways
- Ask great questions – open ended questions that get themselves and others thinking in novel ways
Here’s the deal: it’s pretty tough to be creative or determined when you are perpetually running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Frantic is hardly fertile ground for creativity!
It takes space to be creative – space that you must intentionally carve out. Space to reflect, evaluate, dream, brainstorm, and problem solve. Without that kind of space, you will be a leader void of creativity!
Here are a few other factors that will limit your creativity:
- Lack of discipline
- Lack of downtime
- Inability to let go and delegate
- Lack of purpose
- An unsafe environment
- Not enough sleep
- Trying to be perfect
- Unhealthy habits – diet, exercise, etc.
- Being chained to your desk and not regularly taking breaks
- Lack of margin
Everyone has the ability to be creative. It’s not something some get and others don’t. We are all creative in different ways. And being creative doesn’t mean that you have to have all the ideas. It’s really about creating a culture where everyone can offer ideas, feel heard, and valued.
When you apply creativity to a specific purpose it leads to THRIVING for the individuals, the team, and the organization! The fruit of that kind of environment: engagement!
But that’s not all! Here are three additional reasons to become that leader with the “Secret Sauce” – you become more…
As you demonstrate your creativity, others will take notice! You’ll be come the “go to” person for coming up with solutions that combine original ideas and the familiar in exciting ways! That’s when your value will grow exponentially!
It takes courage to put your ideas out there, and that’s a vulnerable place to be! You might worry that being vulnerable might make you appear weak, but the very opposite is true. Vulnerability and authenticity are traits that make you much more likeable and being an influential and effective leader is contingent on being someone others know, like, and trust! I don’t mean sharing your “dirt”, but putting yourself out there in ways that will move the ball forward for your business or organization.
When you are more creative, it invites those around you to become more creative because it all trickles down! Harness all that creativity towards your organization’s purpose and imagine the impact!
To foster creativity, you must disrupt your thinking. Ask yourself new questions. You would be surprised at how a tiny switch up in the question you ask can lead to brilliant new ideas! Here’s an example:
Which question invites more creativity: “Am I creative?” or How am I creative?”
How about this one: “Where will I find the time to create?” or “How can I intentionally carve out time to be creative?”
Sometimes you need a nudge from someone else to help shift your perspective. Leaders often feel isolated and crave the opportunity to bounce ideas off a confidential sounding board. Coaching offers a practical and powerful space to do that. Coaching is also the perfect place to stir up your creative juices and expand your capacity as a leader. And there are some creative ways to do that with me!
Remember, many employers are eager to invest in YOU! They know your growth will serve them well!
How will you tap into your “secret sauce” and become a more creative leader?