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General Leadership Leadership Styles

7 Tips for Creative Leadership Success

In a world that’s rapidly evolving, conventional leadership styles simply do not cut it anymore. You’ve probably heard the term “creative leadership” being thrown around a lot lately and for good reason. Creativity in leadership isn’t just about coming up with innovative ideas; it’s about fostering a culture of innovation, encouraging problem-solving, and inspiring teams to think outside the box. So whether you’re an established leader or just starting in your leadership journey, mastering creative leadership is essential for your success and the success of your organization. Today, we’re going to peel back the layers of what it truly means to be a creative leader, and the transformative impact it can have on your leadership style. Here are 7 tips for embracing creative leadership:

Tip 1: Create a Culture of Creativity

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Photo by Dragos Gontariu

Prioritize creativity as a business goal and provide your team with resources and support to think creatively. Encourage collaboration, diversity of thought, and an environment where ideas are welcomed and valued.

Tip 2: Encouraging Risk Taking

Value Intellectual Adventure

Risk-taking is closely tied to the love for intellectual challenges. Companies like Google have found that allowing employees to follow their intellectual curiosity can produce highly successful ideas. So, encourage your team to take intellectual risks, pursue novel routes, and think creatively about problem-solving.

Embrace, Don’t Hide, Failure

Failures aren’t always deterrents. They can often be our best teachers, steering us towards success. Encourage approaching failure as a learning tool. This mind shift can ultimately lead to more open risk-taking and creative leadership success.

Promote Psychological Safety

For risk-taking to thrive, leaders should foster a psychologically safe environment. This is one where ideas, questions, and concerns can be voiced without the fear of punishment or ridicule. When people feel safe to take [2] risks, creativity flourishes.

Empower the Team

Competitions can be an exciting way to stir up the creativity within your team. By encouraging all team members to propose innovative ideas for projects or growth experiments, you’re fostering a culture of risk-taking. This method not only generates new ideas, but it instills a feeling of ownership in your team.

Simplify Decision-making

Excessive choices can cause decision fatigue. Thus, creatively thinking about simplifying decision-making processes for your team can encourage them to take more risks. Fewer choices enable better, quality-based decisions, freeing your team up for more creative exploration.

In short, fostering an environment that encourages risk-taking is key for promoting creative leadership. A cultural shift towards embracing failure, valuing intellectual challenges, promoting psychological safety, and simplifying decision-making can pave the way for successful creative leadership.

Tip 3: Reflect and Review

Set aside dedicated time to reflect on your business strategies and approaches. Regularly review and analyze your results, and be open to making adjustments and trying new ideas.

Tip 4: Trust Your Intuition

Tap into your intuition when making decisions. Combine logic and intuition to approach challenges from different angles and generate innovative solutions. Trust your gut instincts while also leveraging the insights and [1] expertise of your team.

Tip 5: Engage in Play

Incorporate fun and playfulness into your interactions with your team. Engage in team activities or games that encourage creativity and brainstorming. Create a relaxed and enjoyable environment that fosters open and authentic sharing of ideas.

Tip 6: Create Feedback Loops

Foster a culture of feedback and collaboration by creating opportunities for your team to provide input on ideas and projects. Encourage open and honest communication and value diverse perspectives. This feedback can spark new ideas and improve the quality of your team’s work.

Tip 7: Leveraging Design Thinking for Innovative Solutions

Design thinking is more than just a methodology; it is a mindset that fosters empathy, creativity, and open-mindedness. By shifting the focus from problem-centric to people-centric, leaders can gain valuable insights and redefine problems in a way that drives innovative problem-solving. This empowers leaders and their teams to think outside the box and explore uncharted territories, resulting in fresh perspectives and breakthrough solutions.

One effective exercise within the concept of design thinking is the “How Might We” exercise. This exercise prompts leaders to reframe problems as opportunities and encourages divergent thinking. By formulating “How Might We” statements, leaders create an invitation for their teams to think creatively and suggest fresh perspectives. This exercise sets the stage for collaborative exploration and fosters a culture of ideation and innovation.

For example, let’s consider the challenge of attracting and retaining top talent. Rather than approaching this problem with traditional methods, a design thinking leader might pose the question, “How might we revolutionize our recruitment process to attract exceptional candidates from diverse backgrounds?” This specific question prompts creative thinking and suggests a need for a radical change in the recruitment process.

The “How Might We” formula serves as a catalyst for brainstorming sessions and fosters a mindset of creative problem-solving. It invites innovative ideas and encourages the exploration of unconventional solutions to address challenges.

By incorporating design thinking principles into their leadership approach, leaders can unlock a multitude of benefits. Design thinking encourages a culture of collaboration, where individuals from diverse backgrounds come together to share ideas, challenge assumptions, and co-create solutions. This collaborative environment fosters creativity, empathy, and mutual respect among team members.

Design thinking also nurtures an innovative mindset within the organization. By constantly questioning the status quo and seeking alternative perspectives, leaders inspire their teams to think creatively and find novel solutions to complex problems. This fosters a culture of continuous improvement and drives innovation throughout the organization.

Furthermore, design thinking empowers leaders to make informed decisions based on a deep understanding of their stakeholders’ needs. By actively engaging with users, customers, and employees, leaders can develop products, services, and initiatives that truly address their needs, resulting in enhanced user experiences and increased stakeholder satisfaction.

Embracing design thinking and leveraging the power of the “How Might We” exercise can revolutionize the way leaders approach and address challenges. By encouraging creativity, collaboration, and innovation, design thinking empowers leaders and their teams to think outside the box and drive transformative change. This transformative approach fosters innovation, enhances problem-solving capabilities, and cultivates a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

By incorporating these tips into your leadership approach, you can cultivate a creative mindset that will set you and your team up for success. Embrace creativity, take risks, and foster a culture of innovation. Creativity is a skill that can be developed and nurtured, and with practice, you can harness the power of creative leadership to drive growth and achieve your business goals.


[1] How To Embody Creativity In Leadership
[2] Creativity and the Role of the Leader

Max Johnson

Max Johnson is currently a Vice President at a Fortunate 100 company. He has also held multiple leadership positions at two startups previously. When he is not busy working, you can find him surfing at the beach or skiing in the mountains.

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