This week we will begin a new series that discusses the various dimensions that make up an effective leader. Effective leadership is a key to the success of any organization. From the vast amounts of research in the area of leadership development, we can now determine which main qualities make up our most effective leaders. Those dimensions are: Creativity, Leading, Fairness, Connectedness, Achieving and Communicating. For this article, we will take a look at the first dimension of effective leadership: Creativity.
Creativity: Exhibiting behaviors that think big picture, seek improvement, stress learning and growth, and lead to high performance.
The role of creativity in leadership has expanded. With the pace of change increasing rapidly, a leader’s ability and willingness to be creative can become the difference between success and failure of an organization. Creativity is a common thread in the evolution of humans and society, and the same is true for organizational evolution.
The creative leader thinks with a big picture in mind. A creative mindset is required to see the forest from the trees and keep a broader view of organizational issues like direction, structure and market dynamics. Creativity is often the spur to improvement. The development of solutions to deal with constant change requires imagination, inventiveness and resourcefulness. Innovation is catalyzed when creativity is exhibited.
Creative activities like dedicated thinking time, brainstorming and investigation are necessary actions to spawn learning. It requires a willingness to sideline quick-result, short-term thinking.
The collective creativity of a team or group of individuals is enhanced by the creativity of a leader. When a leader explores new thinking and alternative ways of doing things, their team often sees the opportunity to do the same.
A creative leader is more likely to have a team that is willing to generate their own ideas or build upon existing ones. The more ideas, strategies or approaches that are tried by a leader or the team, the higher the likelihood of improving performance.
Leaders who score high on the Creativity dimension might:
- Revolutionize leadership practices to develop the leadership capability that can keep up with the speed of business
- Encourage innovative thinking as a priority and critical skill
- Craft innovative solutions to address customer concerns
- Analyze, experiment and implement innovative solutions
- Develop the skills that will be critical for future leadership
- Drive change, foster innovation and identify and develop
How can we determine if a leader scores high in the Creativity dimension?
A series of 4 attributes are commonly associated with the Creativity dimension. By utilizing our Legacy Leadership 360 assessment, we can determine the level that the person involved in the assessment is rated (by themselves, coworkers and peers) at the following attributes:
The leader who thinks holistically takes a systems view. This is reflected in the leader’s understanding of the big picture of the organization, with the right amount of focus on the individual parts. Holistic thinking includes seeing the broader patterns within the organizational system and responding appropriately.
Visionary leaders are open to new ideas and information. They have a desire to create a new image of the organization’s future. Visionary leaders tend to think and make decisions with a future focus in mind. They are flexible and open to their own free thinking and take in the free thinking of others. They are regularly searching for new information.
A visionary leader recognizes the importance of creativity, knowing that it could yield new opportunities. And they are willing to share what they see and believe for the new future, working to inspire others to join.
Being visionary includes having the ability to remain forward-thinking throughout the entire creative process. The visionary will allow other ideas to enter and evolve, keeping the desired future as end result. They create the space that others need to find their own way in the organization’s future.
The curious leader is genuinely interested and demonstrates this regularly. They will frequently step out of their own comfort zone to try new things. They look for new approaches and encourage others to do the same. They value ongoing learning and know it leads to new thinking and experiences. It is important to them to stay knowledgeable on trends and issues in the marketplace and world.
Curiosity can be a differentiator for leaders who seek to lead new ideas. The curious leader is inquisitive and asks many questions, with a real desire to learn. They will explore options, investigate possibilities and peruse as much evidence as they can
find, without premature judgment.
The adaptable leader is flexible and able to adjust in new environments. They typically plan ahead and prepare for possible contingencies. They tend not to be controlling because they know things change and they can adjust accordingly.
Leaders who are adaptable manage their physical and emotional responses in times of challenge or even crisis. They often plan for these unforeseen circumstances in order to be best prepared to handle them.
Being adaptable requires the ability to handle ones emotional responses. They will consider ideas and information even when it runs counter to their own beliefs. They will admit when they are wrong, learn from it and move on to what is next.
The adaptable leader can deal effectively with stresses and emergencies, even when unpredictable. They work through challenges with creativity and focus on progress. They are ready for change and know that all the paths for progress are not set in stone. They often see change, detours or unexpected circumstances as opportunities.
Effective leadership is key to driving business results and becoming a more effective leader starts with awareness.
Our 360 leadership assessment is different from other individual survey tools. Designed to provide immediately actionable feedback on the dimensions and qualities most closely linked to a leader’s ability to perform effectively in their role, it leverages the latest research from both social and cognitive neuroscience. It is simple to administer, intuitively relevant and highly cost effective. Whether used in conjunction with our experienced coaches or alone with its easy-to-understand User Report, its impact and value for your current and emerging leaders will be immediate.
If you are interested in furthering the development of the leaders within your organization, we encourage you to email or call us at 888-892-0300.