Creative Leadership – The Need of the Day!

by Hiren Panchal  |  30th Nov, 2016 in Self Discovery

Being a leader not only involves courage but also creativity.

Why creativity?

Here is an example that might help you find the answer:

This is about O P Bhatt, who became the chairman of State Bank of India in 2006. You must be aware that SBI is one of the oldest and largest banks of India with 20,000 branches and 200,000 employees.

At the time when OP Bhatt was appointed as the chairman, SBI was facing a whole lot of problems. Although it was still the market leader, there was very tough competition coming up from private players such as HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank. When compared to its competitors, the growth of SBI was slower, due to which the Bank had started to lose out on its market share. Unable to draw young and affluent customers, SBI, as a brand, began to be perceived as old and staid.

This was when Bhatt realized that a transformation was absolutely necessary. However, since the bank was owned partially by the Indian Government, he had to face a lot of challenges:

It was not possible for him to either get the right people on board or let the wrong people go off board…

With his own take home salary being less than $1000 per month, there was no way he could financially motivate his managers to take the leap towards leading innovative projects…

This was when Bhatt decided to use a creative approach to solve this problem. He came up with Parivarthan, which was a massive internal communication initiative.

The aim of Parivarthan was to obtain the acceptance and support of employees for implementing the changes that the bank intended to make, by explaining to them why such a change was essential. This project was all about changing the approach and attitude of the employees, enabling them to adopt a customer-centric approach.

Very soon, the bank started performing very well and got back the market share that it had lost. Through his creative approach, O P Bhatt had effectively changed the approach of his employees towards work.

Now that’s what I would call Creative Leadership!

It takes a creative leader to make a company the most innovative in the world. I have come across many such creative leaders who tend to nurture creativity everywhere around them. They tend to build communities that are absolutely enthusiastic, both inside as well as outside of their organizations.

If you wish to become one of the best leaders in today’s world, you will have to embrace hallmarks such as Creativity, innovation and adaptability.

So, how does one become a creative leader?

To become a creative leader, you have to think like how an artist does. To keep yourself ahead of the crowd, you will have to first tap into your creative intelligence and inspire people around you to push themselves, while staying nimble.

Given below are five traits that differentiate creative leaders from those that aren’t:

Creative leaders rattle cages

Never do things remain constant in business. While many tend to wait till circumstances start dictating their life, there are certain people that take things into their hands and provoke themselves into action. They imagine possibilities and instigate change. They rattle cages including their own. They shake up beliefs and institutions that have been long-standing, even if they are not really accepted. They break themselves away from the herd even if it means being termed as the lone wolf; and this is the main fact that makes them so great.

Creative leaders always listen to their intuition

Often things that seem true to us aren’t really true. We always seem to have problems when it comes to balancing logic and intuition. We tend rely on our education and knowledge to make decisions and solve problems. This is where we go wrong. Creative leaders, on the other hand, use this intellect along with their intuition. They realize things that they sense. They know that there are possibilities that lie beyond the realm of what is known. It makes sense to listen to them, if you want to make real breakthroughs happen.

Creative leaders are really fast

If you think perfectionism was your biggest asset, you are absolutely wrong. It is in fact a biggest stumbling block to your success. As per Creative leaders it is impossible to achieve perfection and if one pursues perfection, it is only going to stand in the way of his progress. They therefore take consistent strides, irrespective of how big or small those strides are. The faster they take this stride, the greater will their progress be.

Creative leaders stick to their convictions

We often tend to look for external direction and guidance in our pursuit to achieve security and stability in life. In the process we tend to lose sight of who we are or what is important to us. It is important to cultivate conviction if you wish to be a creative leader. Look inside yourself and find out what is it that makes you come alive. Start filling in the gap between who you actually are and who you can be. If you figure out what you are meant to do, make sure you give yourself to it.

Creative leaders seldom do what is expected out of them

It is their ability to come up with brilliant ideas which makes great leaders so great. Unless you get out of the common view, it will not be possible for you to imagine new possibilities. We all have a lot of creativity and uniqueness within us; but we hardly activate them. Why? Because there are so many things we need to attend to – our families, our jobs – and most of our time and efforts go into keeping things going the way they are. If you wish to free your originality, you will have to stop doing what is expected out of you and start doing those things which only you can do.

If you wish to adopt creative thinking, you will have to overcome three things – Fear of failure, the guilt about coming across as selfish and the sheer ignorance of possibilities. You can develop all those qualities that you wish to possess. All you need to do is start. Don’t wait until the circumstances in your life start demanding something out of you. Start Right Away. Because that’s what creative leaders do.

Director, Litmus Branding Pvt. Ltd.
Ahmedabad, India
Hiren Panchal co-founded Litmus with Kapil. Hiren owns an exhaustive character and sharpens his views with an analytical mindfulness. He observes every creative with a conscious magnifier. Just as his doer attitude wins over his believer attitude, his thought leadership aims at creating leaders and not followers on his team. His creative insights have created brands worldwide and he has been commanding in the industry for +20 years. Come to the point, he’s already there.