Posted by: ritagone | June 19, 2013

Are You a Creative Leader?

Idea Woman Mind Light Bulb in Silhouette Head


We all like to think of ourselves as creative, don’t we?  And many of us like to think of ourselves as leaders.  Put those two traits together, and you’re looking for a creative leader, a combination of skills and personality that is not always easy to find.

Are you a creative leader?

And what’s the difference between a creative leader and a rather bland leader?

I read an interesting article recently in my weekly Brain Pickings (a wonderful source of fascinating reading material) in which 10 qualities of creative leaders were listed.  I’d like to share them with you to see where you fit in:

First, a creative leader has high standards of personal ethics.  I smiled when I saw this one; I wondered if it’s listed as the number one requirement because in this day and age, it’s so rarely found.  Everyone seems to be doing what is right in their own eyes these days, and their standards are not only not high: they are abysmally low.  So when you find a leader with high personal standards, you can bet that she/he is creative in life.

Second, they are big people without pettiness.  Again, this is a quality that is rarer and rarer nowadays: people who can be forgiving, generous, and not so consumed with their own agendas that they can make allowances for others in many ways.  And they refuse to stoop to immaturity or pettiness to get their way.  In short, they are refreshing to be around and easy to follow.

Third, they have guts under pressure, resilience in defeat.  Too many times we don’t see the mettle of a person until and unless they fail at something, and then it’s too late.  Instead, I’d rather know that someone can take the pressure of a job or an assignment without cratering, or that they can bounce back when things don’t go their own way.

Fourth, they have brilliant brains and aren’t safe plodders.  Most people take the safe routes to answers and decisions rather than the risky journeys which might lead to trouble but also to new horizons.  A creative leader isn’t afraid to dive into uncharted waters or to take a route previously unmapped.

Fifth, they have a capacity for hard work and midnight oil.  I can remember when my husband was working as a television producer, before he retired over 10 years ago.  It was not uncommon for him to leave at 8 in the morning and come home after 10 or 11 at night.  Although he and his partner had a commitment to not work on the weekends and to allow their writing staff to do the same whenever possible, which is rare in the television sitcom business, during the week he worked hard and didn’t complain about it.  It was just what had to be done, and he did it.  Today I see a lot of people complaining about their hours, their working conditions, whatever, instead of just getting on with it and doing the work they were hired to do.

Sixth, charisma – charm and persuasiveness.  People will follow a good leader almost anywhere if he has the ability to lead well and to be convincing that he should be followed.  If he can throw in a little charm to boot, that really sells it.  His people will jump off a cliff for him or her.  (This is not always a good thing, mind you.  People follow bad creative leaders too, which is why numbers one and two are so important.)

Seventh, a streak of unorthodoxy – creative innovators.  Doing things a little differently is always the mark of a creative person, someone who is willing to take a risk, to work and think outside the box.  These are the leaders who have brought us innovation that has changed the world around us.

         Eighth, the courage to make tough decisions.  Sometimes we just want someone to tell us where to go or what to do, and the person who can take charge and make those decisions, easy or tough, is the leader who will have followers.

Ninth, inspiring enthusiasts – with trust and gusto.  The creative leader is like a good cheerleader: capable of stimulating the people around him or her and getting the best out of those people who are ready to follow.

Tenth, a sense of humor.  If you can laugh at yourself and at situations you find yourself in, you’ll always be ahead of the game.  No one wants to follow a dour sourpuss, no matter how creative or intelligent they are.  But someone who makes the project or the activity fun because they know how to laugh; that’s someone who can lead well and long.

So there you have it:  something of what makes a creative leader.  How do you rate yourself?  Or maybe it would be a good idea to have someone close to you rate you instead.  I found it rather interesting and provocative and challenging.

After all, why be just a leader when you can be a creative leader with just a little more work on yourself and focus?


  1. Good stuff Rita…this would make a great leadership seminar. Thanks! 😉

  2. I read this to Rich this morning. We both loved it.

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