Why We Need Creativity in Leadership

In 2020, the top soft skills companies wanted in their leaders included adaptability and collaboration. But topping the list? Creativity. In 2021? It remains an area identified by many HR professionals as a missing skill. In fact, 37% list problem solving, critical thinking, innovation, and creativity as key soft skills they see missing in the candidates they’re recruiting.

Creative leaders:

  • Strategize and find creative solutions to unexpected challenges — like the 2020 pandemic, for example
  • Don’t fit into existing molds
  • Cultivate greater success within their teams by revolutionizing how their teams work


Find and Channel Your Flow

Think you aren’t creative? Think again! The following ideas can help you shift to a more creative mindset that enhances your leadership abilities and generates success.

Don’t fear failure, because that fear can hold you back from taking risks necessary to make something (good) happen. Be open to trying new things, even if it means venturing into the unknown. Will you fail? Quite possibly! Everyone fails at least some of the time, but it’s important to recognize and accept you might fail — or you might succeed. After all, failures still show you had the courage to try.

Embrace evolution by welcoming a positive relationship with disruption. Most of us prefer winning over losing, but when you embrace change, you accept the outcomes — win or lose — of your creativity. Allowing yourself to become comfortable with — or even welcome — change brings the freedom of releasing preconceived notions and trying more creative approaches.

Encourage your team to find and embrace their own creativity. Lead by example and mentoring. Championing a creative culture encourages others to also take chances and think outside the box.

Find inspiration by listening to others, whether it’s your team, podcasts, and other professionals in your field. Collaborative brainstorming sessions often generate a wealth of ideas worth batting around and pursuing.

Polish your persuasive technique, because the ability to communicate a course of action, ideas, and plans relies on belief, inspiration, leadership, and persuasion. If no one else believes in or buys into your great idea, that idea may die. Tyler Odean said, “We trust [visionaries] not because their vision is perfect, but because they have it under control. They communicate clearly without giving us all the answers. What most people think as vision is actually persuasion.”

Take the first step. When you’re brave enough to try something new — even if it leads to failure — continuing to try can lead to the ultimate win. Most people who’ve tried and failed before they found success failed more times than they won. Thomas Edison responded to a reporter who’d asked how it felt to fail 1000 times, “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Creativity Supports Future-proofing and Organizational Resilience

People who invest in cultivating their creativity offer a wealth of benefits to their companies — like stronger leadership with future-proofing. But as the COVID-19 pandemic proved, even the best-laid plans can’t always account for potential future disasters. So how does creativity factor into future-proofing?

Future-proofing strategies focus on steps taken to protect brands and companies against disruptors and market fluctuations. In a post-pandemic world, companies that future-proof also have prioritized a willingness to:

  • Grow
  • Test new marketing strategies
  • Go digital
  • Explore hybrid workplace models

Each of these priorities leads to the recognition of another operational strategy: resilience. 

Resilience embraces and capitalizes on leadership’s creativity, flexibility, and ability to pivot. You can’t really prepare and save resilience, trotting it out on a rainy day. But you can generate a resiliency mindset and use it daily. Leaders can encourage and support a resiliency mindset throughout their organizations. Businesses can cope and thrive in uncertain times when they prioritize organizational resilience, especially the ability to improvise. It’s hard to improvise without a creative mindset.

As Thomas Edison once said, “Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe.” Nurturing and growing that creative spark offers leaders the potential to soar and lead their teams to even greater heights and successes.

If you’d like to meet some amazing leaders in the commercial real estate (CRE) industry, visit the CREA United website. Conceptualized and launched by Darren Lizzack and Randy Horning, this organization offers a forum for other CRE members within the same vertical — construction, corporate, dentistry, industrial, medical & healthcare, multifamily group, office, retail — but with different disciplines to share knowledge and benefit from each other’s expertise which, in turn, benefits their clients.

This whole idea generated from a “what-if?” spark — a spark that might have died if not for the creativity of the organization’s leadership. And now the company is growing, thanks to more than 70 creative, innovative leaders who also recognized its promise and thought, “What if?”

Related Articles