Leadership and creativity
Updated: Mar 19, 2018
In less than two months, I will finally graduate from the university and officially enter the job
market. As I was writing my resume, I started reflecting on how each experience inked on my curriculum vitae has affected me and prepared me for the corporate world. I have completed internships, studied the science of computer in its finest details, and spent an entire year doing leadership.
Doing leadership ... These words embrace so much meaning, if they are used carefully. During my first LDI semester, I participated in training sessions that aimed to awaken the leader within me. However, a semester later, I still find it difficult to define the qualities necessary in a leader in a few words. One night, I ventured into a deep soul searching and contemplation in order to define leadership in the corporate world into a single word. “A very ambitious and impossible mission,” as my friend challenged me. However, I was determined to uphold the challenge.
During my thinking process, I outlined all the persons that I thought represented leadership for me. Coming from a computer science background, I decided to compare two notorious leaders, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. In the computer industry the two are considered to be the leaders of a new generation of computers that could be used at home, namely personal computers (PC). I said to my friend, “Steve Jobs is a leader, Bill Gates is not.”
“Why is that?,” My friend replied.
“He just doesn’t feel like a leader to me, that’s all.”
And while I uttered these words, I did not know why I did not consider both of them to be leaders. And then the word came ... Creativity. Many people have interesting management and communication skills that would make them develop multi-billion dollar companies.
However, it is creativity that makes the leader different from others. Steve Jobs was the first to imagine the idea of personal computer, ipod, tablet, etc. Every new product launch was not an amelioration of the previous version, but a total change in paradigm that offered to users a new experience with technology. “CEOs identify creativity as the number one lead-
ership competency of the successful enterprise of the future," says Frank Kern, Senior Vice President of IBM Global Business Services. But why is creativity an essential quality in leadership? It is creativity that allows the leader to think of new ways to approach a problem and solve it. Creativity pushes the person to go beyond known ideas and venture into new lands of thought, until then, unknown to the public.
Since 2008, the world has inherited an economic crisis that changed the rules of the business world and challenged the sense of security that CEOs have built during the years. For the leader of a company powered by creativity, the difficulties of navigating today’s complex marketplace are compounded by the fact that, in every decision, two forces are loudly asserting their dominance: creativity and profitability.
In a study performed by Harvard University on Google, the researchers tracked the success rate of the ideas that where initiated by top management versus the ideas that eere suggested and executed by the employees. The results showed a higher success rate of the ideas that stemmed from the creative process of the employee.
Moral of the story, creativity counts as one of the important qualities for leadership in the corporate world.