I coach leaders of all kinds, with a focus on their own development of themselves. Learning how creativity enhances your ability to lead is an important skill to hone, especially in today’s new work world. Several of my blogs speak to this, particularly February’s on adding self care to your leadership toolkit. Seeking to add creativity into self care, elevates the benefits in your professional roles as well as within your self personally.
Creative time can filter into your work life as enhanced problem solving and innovation, visionary thinking, and improved connection with staff. An added bonus is your own continued career satisfaction and growth! Both harmonize with how business is changing from the top down model of leadership to this brave new work world we’re navigating.
Forbes echoes this, saying, ‘effective leadership can require inspiration, which is often better evoked through curiosity and imagination rather than pragmatism.’
QUALITIES OF A CREATIVE LEADER
So how do you distinguish what makes a creative leader? When you read the list, I bet you will think of a few people this describes. Most of them are quite successful — like Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. But you don’t have to be at that level of wealth, notoriety or celebrity. There are many, many creative leaders making differences in their way in all levels of the work world.
- They are intuitive, passionate, authentic
- They are curious, think out of the box
- They inspire and invite ideas and creativity of their team or in their company
- They grasp that business models are changing, as is the world
- They will take risks, and are willing to make mistakes
- They can see and make connections, and strive for everyone winning
“Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.” – Albert Einstein
HOW TO ADD CREATIVITY:
While I have suggested breaks for self care through the day, adding in creativity works on a whole different level. Rather than doing a chore or surfing the net, try some of these:
- Go to a museum, or an outdoor sculpture garden.
- Paint, learn a craft, wood work, fly a kite, do a puzzle – especially if you’ve never done them before.
- Take your camera out specifically to photograph things for the sake of seeing differently. Do a study on the weeds in your yard, the patterns on your front steps or kitchen floor, spider webs – you name it. Art is everywhere.
- Repair or restore something with your own hands.
- Play music. Lay on the couch or floor and listen to every note like you did in high school! Dance to it. Sing.
- Put yourself fully in the moment with grandkids and see the world as newly as they do. Engage fully in their activities with them – finger painting, frosting cupcakes, blowing bubbles, drawing on the sidewalk with chalk.
- Spend time in your local library – preferably in the hidden areas. National Geographic and Time have gorgeous images to look at and interesting stories to read.
- You know the coffee table books that are mostly decor? Crack one open, and take the time to enjoy it.
- If you’re a hiker, biker, kayaker, or boater, do it wearing “different colored lenses’. Turn your attention from tracking miles, speed or heart rate to truly noticing the nature around you, how your body feels with each motion.
- Break your routines. Try something entirely new. Say yes to things you often say no to, just to see what you learn. Go a different route and explore some new surroundings.
- Find time for introspection. It really frees your mind and allows creativity to enter! This could include swinging on a hammock, driving yourself to a park with few people with a picnic lunch, meditating, dancing to some favorite music, or taking a bath
- You may want to keep a private journal as you go. Writing something down has a way of setting intentions in your subconscious and you will be amazed at how things manifest.
- Educate yourself more on a topic. Read articles, do a workshop, talk to a coach.
Finding Time was my most read blog post, which confirms that it is half the battle as people strive to work new activities into their lives. I recommend reading it, as it offers solid ways to create more time to do what you really want or need to do. Even if you don’t want to add anything new to your current activities, you can achieve creative benefits by simply shifting your perspective while doing what you are doing- arguably a creative act in itself! I’m suggesting you give a try, even for a month – and preferably a lifetime!
This video by John Spencer helps to define what I mean.
INCORPORATE CREATIVITY AT WORK
After you’ve been doing a few of these things, shift the skill of thinking from a different perspective to your work life. What is an alternate approach to your daily responsibilities and interactions with clients and co-workers? What would be some ways to bring creativity into your work and see how that develops?
- Can you set new goals using your expanded perspective?
- Who exhibits creative leadership in the company, your field, or the world? Observe them, read their articles, books, or biographies. Follow them on social media, watch their interviews or output on youtube, and LEARN.
- What situations are opportunities to practice using your intuition instead of only relying on your head, or being led by the bottom line?
- If you have new ideas, how can you express them constructively with others on your team?
- What of your work or role requires the most creativity? Can you do that in the hours when you feel the freshest?
I have written about the paradigm shift that has happened in business, jump started by Covid 2+ years ago. That business model of the future is here. There will be a direct correlation with how much it will thrive based on how you and/or your company embraces and acclimates to it – at a time when interesting the right people to fill roles and being sure they have what they need to deliver their best work is imperative. New roles are being created – ie: remote work schedulers, online meeting trainers, touch-less technologies, take out and pick up or delivery services, online sales managers, etc… Employee well being, inclusiveness and safety concerns are more top of the list, and as a leader, working creativity into your perspective and reflecting that in your actions will take you where you need to go.
If you would like support in working through how to utilize creativity in your role as a leader, let’s talk.