Characteristics of a Creative Leader
Creativity seems to be a quality greatly in need today. Many of us are looking for creative solutions to a plethora of problems of varying sizes, surfacing in life and work. The socio-economic scenery is shifting and quaking under our feet and a tsunami of change threatens to engulf us in groups of confusion and uncertainty. So it’s no surprise that many people around the globe are rising up and asking serious questions of our leaders.
How can we creatively respond to the economic challenges we confront?
How can we cope with rising crime and the threat of terrorism?
How will we manage if and when food, water and fuel become scarce?
How will we find money to survive in the future when our economy seems so unpredictable?
How can we make more from less?
How can we live and work in ways that make us feel that we are doing more than just coping?
How can we avoid feeling we are becoming less than we were in terms of our personal happiness and growth?
How can we ensure our children have a future?
How can we ensure our aging parents will have a good quality of life in their later years?
But people are quickly discovering that their leaders don’t have the answers. And the reason is, the answers to these questions can’t be found, because they don’t exist.
How can they when we live in such a rare time in history? Never before in all eternity has a world like this, at a time like this, with people like us doing what we do, in the way that we do it, existed.
The Internet has connected more of us to more knowledge than we’ve ever had access to before. People move around the world with relative freedom and at speeds never before possible. Science and technology has far surpassed our ancient biology’s capacity to manage it responsibly and we are draining the planet’s resources at an unsustainable rate. As this state of affairs has never occurred in history until this moment, there are no ready-made answers hiding away to be discovered. The solutions will have to be produced.
So, each of us will need to become pioneers at this leading edge of a new global culture. But what we could really do with right now are some great leaders. Leaders of the kind we’ve never seen before. New leaders with a vision for a new future. Leaders that can inspire us to follow on and build that future. Creative instead of destructive leaders.
But what is a creative leader?
How will we recognize them?
What are their characteristics?
Well, if we had to visualize what a creative leader might be like we might start by saying they are people who have thorough insight, abundant personal energy, a flexible thinking style and great communication skills.
We might also say that they take a ‘flex and flow’ attitude to life and work.
‘Flex and flow’ describes the creative, vigorous processes of natural systems.
Energy and matter are two aspects of the same thing but in different states. Matter is simply condensed energy. When living, organic, objects appear from the ecosystem (molecules, bacteria, cells, complicate organisms, plants and animals) their growth is the consequence of a course of action of contracted, complicate, energy, forming into substantial structures. In order to continue it’s form an object needs to burn energy to keep up it’s structure. The energy an object uses as fuel for growth and stability is then transformed, released and flows back into the system, allowing new forms to arise. Human consciousness is simply the time of action of creative flex and flow becoming aware of itself. Knowing when to flex your energy, contract and take action, and when to release energy into a flow state allowing new forms to arise is the time of action of creative ‘ flex and flow’.
A creative leader energised by a flex and flow value set is able to see the whole range of human differences within an organization from a values perspective, and knows how to communicate with people at their respective levels.
Creative Leaders understand that it is the varied of ‘values and belief systems’ that cause more challenges than issues of personality types, race, gender and age. People of the same culture can often keep up differing values while others from different groups can proportion values which can transcend external boundaries.
For example – A Christian and a Moslem, both expressing the same values around environmental issues, will more easily find shared ground. White and black South Africans committed to the values of varied and inclusions will have far less interpersonal challenges than two English football supporters of the same gender, religion and race, expressing a fundamentalist, tribal loyalty to opposing teams.
Creative Leaders manage cultural barriers such as race, religion, gender, age and lifestyles that can divide and create conflict with a syngergistic, integral approach that serves the whole system.
Creative Leaders have reached a high level of understanding in terms of their own values and understand the drives and motivations of people at all levels of development.
They have trod a path many have however to walk and can act as guides, helping us lay stepping-stones across a slippery ground.
They have an ability to consider many perspectives at once seeing patterns and connections others do not notice because they are not hampered by unhealthy, egotistic concerns. The creative leader is aligned with the creative force of evolution and represents the flow of natural design becoming conscious of itself.
They are open.
They recognize that the only long-lasting thing in the universe is change.
They accept that our individual lives are a journey that may not necessarily have a purpose, other than the one we alone give to ourselves.
The Creative Leader behaves with patience, realizing that people will only act for change when they are ready and willing.
Creative leaders are prepared to walk away from a situation when the timing is wrong or when they recognize they are not the right person to rule.
Creative leaders concede and recognize that to get what they need as individuals they have to keep the whole system and everyone in it as healthy as possible to ensure their own survival.
Creative Leaders are comfortable with a varied of thoughts, concepts and ideas.
Creative Leaders respect that everyone is slightly right but no-one person has the whole picture, not already the leader.
Creative Leaders have developed and integrated their four dimensions of being -physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually.
Creative Leaders can take on many roles and points of view when they need to fit.
Creative Leaders can quickly adapt and rule in a style that meets the need of the group they are leading.
Creative Leaders solve problems by thinking in terms of networks and connected systems.
Creative Leaders can manager high levels of complexity.
Creative Leaders can think with the four quadrants of their brains as an integrated whole.
Back Left – Organisation, course of action and routine.
Back Right – Meaning making, intuition and empathy.
Front Left – Facts, logic and rationale.
Front Right – Spontaneity, improvisation and abstraction.
But surely this description is too perfect. This kind of leader can’t possibly exist?
After all we’ve just produced these characteristic in our imagination.
But wait…if we can imagine a leader like this then maybe we can create one.
In fact if you walk to a mirror right now you might just see a possible candidate.