Leading others impacts all of us, whether we are leading or being led. In general, all leadership can be defined in one of two ways: Leadership through influence that inspires (serving others), or Leadership through positional authority.
What does each look like in real life? The first values freedom for others to become their best selves with opportunity, while the second uses power to motivate action based on stated consequences. Yes, both gets results. Beyond this, though, how are those under either leadership model connected to you as a leader? Put another way, what is the result of your leadership upon their heart? Your “leadership lifestyle”, or how you lead on a regular and consistent manner (i.e. actions arise from internal values) defines this relational truth. As such, creativity within those you lead becomes tied to this result.
The role of one’s heart and motivation, I believe, remains greater than most will consider in their personal leadership lifestyle. How so? Consider a key component for any organization/company — VISION. How one leads dramatically impacts the lens by which vision is seen, and subsequently, carried out.
Take a moment to consider the following quotes and the kind of “vision” that arises:
“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” — Antoine de Saint-Exupery
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said: FASTER HORSES.” — Henry Ford
“What you yearn for will be what drives you to explore.” — Mark Francis
Our personal sphere of leadership will be dramatically impacted by our personal leadership lifestyle, especially towards how we help unlock creativity in those we lead. Creativity needs freedom to thrive, as well as opportunities to explore. As leaders, are we creating that environment? Without, vision will diminish and become nothing more than a sign on the wall.
Here are few ideas/thoughts that could serve as a beginning point in your own self-reflection:
> If you ask for input from your team, give value to it (beyond just a “Thank You”) – even using a portion of it building increasing trust that vision is a collaborative effort.
> When a process is not being successful, seek first to find out what it is not being self-corrected by those involved – Training gap, relational disconnection, loss of confidence, etc.
> Consistently communicate and demonstrate room for “failing forward” – using failure to drive creativity, not diminish it.
> Appeal consistently to one’s heart and importance over the rule of command/process – if your team feels they are present only for your personal success, you will lose their creativity and their heart for you.
> Ask open-ended questions for discovery – highlight the unknown and its value for driving exploring.
In our fast-paced world and ever-changing circumstances, our ability as leaders to value and support personal creativity in our teams will many times make the difference between short or long-term success.