Imbibing the Traits of Creative Leaders By Bayo Ogunmupe
Becoming a leader takes courage and creativity. But creativity takes practice. Being a leader is difficult too. That is why most of us take direction as employees rather than self employed entrepreneurs. However, due to technology and recession the ranks of the self employed are swelling. Indeed, becoming a leader, if even leading oneself is something anyone committed to innovation must practice. There is no inborn quality that leaders possess. They are ordinary people who decide to do extraordinary things. Therefore, becoming a leader doesn't take just courage, it demands creativity, the kind you need to actively nurture and practice. I am a literary critic, so I like to think of leadership as an art form. And I have found that in order to become a leader, you need to develop the traits of champions. You must tap into your creative intelligence in order to keep ahead of the crowd, stay nimble and inspire those around you. Here are some traits most creativity driven leaders possess. One, they rattle cages, meaning they are unpredictable. They change constantly. In the world of business and politics, nothing stays the same. Some people wait until they are propelled into leadership by forces of nature. But great leaders from Joan of Arc through Martin Luther King Jnr to Steve Jobs: first provoke themselves into action. They are constantly imagining new possibilities. They instigate the change that they envision even when others are unaware. They predict the future by creating change. To rise to your true leadership potential, you need to rattle cages, starting from yourself. Thus, the main difference between great leaders and ordinary people is that they are willing to act rather than allow circumstances dictate life for them. That means they shake-up long-standing beliefs and institutions which is often never well received. That is what makes them great. Two, they listen to their intuition. There are things we know to be true and things we feel to be true. Due to education, we tend to lean on existing knowledge to solve problems and make decisions. But great leaders realize that things they sense - the possibilities that lie beyond the realm of the known, hold special value too. Listening to intuition is how real breakthroughs happen. Often, we have problems balancing logic with intuition. The truth is that both faculties aren't opposed to one another. In fact, the best is to get them working together, if you are truly to become a creative leader. Intellect without intuition is the hallmark of the smart guy without impact. Intuition without intellect makes the spontaneous person without direction. The great leader marries intuition with intellect to produce innovation. Three, creative leaders move fast to produce results. The biggest stumbling block for anyone trying to accomplish something is perfectionism- the need to get it exactly right before taking the next step. However, great leaders realize that perfection is impossible. And often the pursuit of perfection stands in the way of progress. Leadership requires making consistent strides, no matter how big. And the quicker the stride the greater the progress. Never buy into the notion that you can take a giant leap if you spend enough time carefully mapping it out. By the time you get done planning, others would have lapped you twice and take the leap you spent months mulling over. Instead, just go and let the sparks fly. You will make mistakes but you will learn quickly by moving- refining your skills and igniting new levels of creativity you didn't know you had. Four, creative leaders have ideological convictions and stick to them. There is something compelling about a person with conviction. But conviction is rare because we often look outside ourselves for direction when we should look inside. Conviction can be cultivated but it starts with you individually. The key is to find something that you feel you are meant to do, and give yourself to it. Finally, they don't only do what5 is expected of them, they have the ability of coming up with new ideas, as their defining characteristic. They step out with new possibilities that set the course for others to follow. In order to free your own originality, you must be willing to stop doing only what is required and expected of you and start doing the things that only you can do. Ultimately, the real difference between you and creative leaders who inspire is action.