Creativity is a rare talent in leaders today.
The modern-day pressure to increase productivity, I believe, has put a burden on leaders that has neutralized their natural creative abilities. Creativity takes time, thought, risk, perseverance and resources. You can see where this cuts against the role of many leaders today where profitability, speed, and efficiency are valued over pace-oriented traits.
This article from Monster.com quotes 10 qualities of creative leaders. The source is David Ogilvy, one of the original Mad Men:
1. High standards of personal ethics.
2. Big people, without pettiness.
3. Guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.
4. Brilliant brains — not safe plodders.
5. A capacity for hard work and midnight oil.
6. Charisma — charm and persuasiveness.
7. A streak of unorthodoxy — creative innovators.
8. The courage to make tough decisions.
9. Inspiring enthusiasts — with trust and gusto.
10. A sense of humor.
Notice how his list contains elements of courage in multiple qualities? I couldn’t agree more with his list and especially this need for courage. Creativity usually requires some form of going against the grain. Many leaders simply avoid upsetting the status quo or longstanding sacred cows within an organization. I find that reluctance all-too-common...and disappointing.
I’ll leave you with some sage advice directly from the author of the article:
“Creative leadership makes your job more meaningful and gives you visibility. Do something small at first – deliver a project early, come up with alternative courses of action, and whenever possible deliver unexpected added value. A bit of qualitative research or sentiment analysis (collecting comments made on forums or social media) is a good example of providing new perspectives that lead to new solutions.”