MUST LEADERS BE CREATIVE? BY LENA RUTHERFORD
Think of a CEO. What makes them a great business leader? Is it their courage, their composure, or their creativity?
Over the last four months, I have met and heard from over fifty business leaders from CEOs and Founders to Designers and Winemakers. When speaking about what makes a great leader or their personal leadership journeys, none of them cited “creativity.”
The themes were surrounding yourself with the right people, constantly learning, taking risks, honesty/transparency, and their stories of facing challenges/problems.
We talk about these themes in creativity too – certainly one must learn, risk, fail, and solve problems to exercise creativity. It seems that these leaders are creative, without outwardly saying it. But is creativity enough?
Does that really sum up what makes a great leader? I don’t think so.
It’s not enough to just be creative as a leader. Leaders also need other skills such as executive presence, technical skills, and a solid knowledge on how to get diverse people “on the same train.” They influence company culture, take responsibility for and fix urgent problems, and support their teams. Especially in the case of moving from Founder to CEO, they may not be responsible for creating things anymore. They might be more responsible for casting the vision and moving others. While creativity can certainly flow through these other skills, I don’t think it’s recognized as the essential skillset of a leader.
What do you think?