Creative Leadership on KPIs Driven Businesses

“A creative leader induces others to focus the process and process skills on meeting their challenges. They become consultants or facilitators in the process of solving the challenge rather than giving orders or doing the work themselves. Having transferred ownership, they then help others to achieve their own goals. These creative leadership skills hardly fit with the traditional management style that most organizations employ, but they can be learned.”

Basadur, Min. “Leading Others to Think Innovatively Together: Creative Leadership.” The Leadership Quarterly 15.1 (2004): 103-21.

Based on this quote, we assume the Creative Leadership is based on following an already existing process, focusing on people’s unique ways of working and how to help them to overcome barriers and reach their maximum potential in order to achieve the objectives.

A business that embraces diversity and values each one’s creativity is more capable to adapt itself for changes then the ones that are strict to ways of working and avoid innovation. While being creative in a environment of change, most of us will seek for opportunity and from new different perspectives we will automatically learn new things.

Based on a 2010 IBM Global CEO Study, creativity was the most important quality for leaders, but it’s impressive that most of organisations tend to promote leaders who do not espouse creative leadership and instead are risk-averse and maintain the status quo. In my opinion, maybe because the it’s natural behavior for us to fear the unknown and it’s always hard to do something new from what we are always used to it.

Some of the most important characteristics to apply Creative Leadership are:

  • Acting with passion and purpose
  • Promoting individual and collaborative thinking and design
  • Listening ability and communication styles
  • Providing time and space to facilitate the practicalities
  • Stimulation sense of urgency if necessary
  • Exposing colleagues to new thinking and experiences
  • Relinquishing control and Orchestrating creative team
  • Individual and team motivations
  • Envisioning a better future
  • Setting high expectations
  • Understanding of different cultures
  • Modeling of creativity and risk-taking
  • Ability to manage change
  • Using failure as a learning opportunity
  • Personal ethics

Of course that we can go deeper on some pillars that are really important to apply those characteristics while building or taking on a new team

Facilitating

Support employees or individuals as primary creators, influencing their creative contributions and shaping each stage of the creative process, this way working in a way to clean their paths breaking barriers and encouraging creativity while solving problems or reaching to new solutions.

Directing

Contribution and collaboration from others, as a conductor on a orchestra, providing vision and direction to musicians to bring their own single contribution. Having clear overview of what’s happening in all areas, you be able to guide every single person based on the main deliver and objective.

Integrating

Ability to integrate or synthesize higher novel ideas with a variety of creative from other individuals, in a way that each one them receive credit for their distinct contribution. In this context, a successful leadership synthesizes other creative inputs and unifies as a unique, common and complete subject.

Body and Mental Health

People are not machines and should not be treated as such, we must respect each individuals timing, space and limit. Having a good sense of leadership will imply in understand how each person is feeling, encouraging them to have a good work and personal life balance and of course showing to them how important is to exercise, drink more water or even adopting healthy nutritive meals. This way people will be able to be more creative and perform better.

We might think that most of those actions are hard to perform either because we don’t have an official team either because the place we work in is KPI ( Key Performance Indicator) focused and don’t value or don’t pay attention to it.

My suggestion is to apply these practices as much as possible in every available opportunity, for example if you don’t have an official team, try to motivate the ones that are working with you, give them freedom to think and encourage them to bring new ideas and solutions to the projects.

And if you are part of a business that values a leadership based on KPIs and not by creativity, the best way is to use the KPIs as a reference of how the Creative Leadership can make a difference, guiding the team to embrace all its aspects and best practices. This way the KPIs that are the main focus of the business would be just a result based on all the effort made through the creative leadership, with this result you are able to satisfy all the parts from the main business stakeholders to the team you are working with.

Post inspired by the following content:

Creative Leadership – Wikipedia

What is Creative Leadership – Thnk.org

Using Creative Leadership Skills to Lead Teams Effectively – Stratx

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