What is a business leader? Often it’s the person who makes the final decision, perhaps the owner, chairperson, chief executive or senior manager Are these people creative? Should they be?
Being in a senior position in an organisation does, by its very nature, move a business leader away from the day-to-day ‘on the ground’ elements of that business. That’s why they employ managers to manage and workers to work. The downside of being in this type of leadership position is that the main source and use of creativity in the organisation appears to be completely out of the leaders hands and control. Having managers to run systems and workers to actually do the job is supposed to mean that leaders don’t get their hands dirty anymore, freeing them up to see the bigger picture.
This means that they are in no position to be able to apply innovation, to find new and better ways of doing things because they simply don’t have the details and facts on how the systems and process work on the micro scale.
This is why business leaders have to take a slightly different approach when it comes to unlocking creativity or increasing innovation in their organisations. The first thing they have to realise is that the most creative people in their business who are really in charge of innovation are not themselves. Instead it is the people who have all the data on how things work, all the people who are working inside the machinery of the business. It is so often micro-changes within, on the shop floor, that will make the big differences. It still needs someone who has the ability to take an overview of the whole system, but that someone must know all the facts, costs, timings and structure of that system. This is why it is so important to make sure that workers see the big picture and that line managers have the ability and confidence to notice where improvements can be made.
A business leader therefore takes on a new type of leadership role. They are not concerned with running systems, like a line manager does, or even managing those managers. A 21st century business leaders main role is to manage, or rather facilitate, the creativity of those managers and departments. The key to successful creativity leadership is the ability to foster an environment conducive to ideas, development and change in a structured and progressive way. This is the essence of creativity leadership.
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