Here is the fourth post in my series of answering questions from Clemson’s Leadership Summit 2011, questions surrounding Creativity and Passion. Enjoy!
How have you incorporated creativity into your leadership style? Was it easy? Difficult? What are you still working on in the area of creativity & passion?
First of all, I do not consider myself a great leader. This is not a self-deprecating statement. It is the truth…I am a young professional with a lot to learn. But this is what I have learned about using creativity as a means to lead.
There is a lot of trust involved and you have to paint a great, tangible picture where the light at the end of the tunnel seems reachable. You hear many people talk about how business relationships are built on trust…HELL YES. I would not be where I am today if it was not for trust. But leading with creativity is not a tough idea to embark…it takes a plan. You have to have some sort of rubric in place that guides people through a creative process. Something that allows people to feel grounded in an approach.
John Warner tells a great story about Virginia Uldrick who started the Governor School for the Arts. Here is a school teacher who is teaching finger painting and positions herself on various leadership positions to create this high seminary of learning. In an interview, John Warner asks her how does she attract such fine teachers of ballet and hold them accountable to perform as teachers. Virginia has to answer to the legislature…so how does she hold such creative people accountable to perform. She states that she is an out-of-the-box thinker and John keys in on that statement…asking “What do you mean you are an out of the box thinker.” He wants to know how to harness this creative tension. She states to John…that if these ballet instructors can perform at the highest level…she will build the grandest stage for them to perform. John states…now who would not want to “work” for Virginia? Well…who would not want to work with Virginia, along side the vision of creativity?
*** Image is a Degas Painting from The Painter’s Studio Blog: http://thepainterstudio.blogspot.com/2010/04/my-love-of-ballet.html