“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.” ~Bill Hybels
Every company has creative people. Creativity has always been at the center of business. As more companies adopt a culture of open innovation a new style of leadership is emerging. Collaborative leaders take a more open approach in the workplace.
When given the power to do so, each person is not just a leader, they are creative as well. Most employers have employees who underneath it all are creative with several ideas for what they do. Most organizations want the ideas generated to come from the top of the company.
Much of your company’s success depends on ideas that keep you on the cutting edge. According to management experts, leading a team of creative employees needs to be more of an empowered and inspired management style. Creative people do not need managers, they need leaders. These individuals are capable of coming up with new formulas, new technologies, or new processes that change the game.
“The visionary starts with a clean sheet of paper, and re-imagines the world.”
Leading creative employees who are actually creative leaders help organizations stay creative and innovative. This is of course only when the company leaders allow this to take place. Yet, more and more businesses and organizations are shifting their strategies to become creative and innovative. For example, organizations who want to thrive beyond survival mode are hiring people who are creative and innovative. No longer are they just looking for “ordinary” employees just to fill a vacancy.
Leading creative people is one of the most challenging skills for executives but for many businesses this is a critical success factor. The basic tension that leaders of creative people have to be able to manage is between exercising management control and creating a culture which allows creative people to flourish and go beyond expectation.
According to Chris Grivas, principal of Chris Grivas Consulting and co-author of The Innovative Team, “the best way learning leaders can teach creativity is to model it.”
These creative people provide tremendous value to organization through application of their knowledge and expertise. These really smart and creative people need nurturing environment and motivation. Creative people are different. They deliver new ideas and approaches, but they come with their quirks. You can’t lead creative employees like you lead “normal” or ordinary employees.
What if you allowed your employees to generate ideas? After all, your employees are the ones who create and produce these ideas for the company they work for. Creative individuals prefer to work without running to a supervisor or manager every time a decision needs to be made, are self-motivated, and prefer to develop their own knowledge base rather than be taught.
Tell your employees what to do, but not how to do it. You can still hold them accountable for the results, but don’t force them to embrace a certain process.
Ask Your Employees for their Input: If you ask, you need to consider their input. If you’re not really going to use their input, it’s better not to even ask.
In some organizations, the executives of the company would not accept any of the input from their employees and found that many left to work for their competitors.
If you want to build an innovative company, you need to find employees who think both inside and outside the box.
Know that they’ll be emotionally attached to what they create. So, if you decide not to use their creation, you’ll have to process that appropriately and not abruptly.
You need to give them a deadline, but it better be reasonable. Creative people need room to dream and let their ideas percolate.
Motivate them with praise. They’ll react when the extrinsic rewards are taken away, but they’re really intrinsically motivated. If you ignore creative employees, they may stop contributing. Some even leave to work for the competition.
They’ll get easily bored if they find themselves stuck in the routine. They need the freedom to take on new challenges and opportunities and hate to get stuck in maintenance mode.
They deliver new ideas, but they dread the details.
They need a creative and participative environment. Creative people need the fuel that other creative people generate.
When leading creative people, keep in mind that they may–
- Think they know more than anyone (or know everything)
- Do not want to be led (know what, how and why)
- Do not want to follow the process.
Leading creative people require smart leadership. Smart leaders help creative employees contribute by creating environment where they feel valuable while making sure that other employees also flourish.
Smart leaders demonstrate their expertise and authority over creative employees quietly by not pushing them or by not showing them who is the boss. (Smart leader also makes sure that they know what organization’s strategic goals and objectives are; but does not dictate how to achieve. These creative people can contribute beyond expectations.)
“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making
mistakes, and having fun.” — Mary Lou Cook