2020 has made you a more creative leader in many ways. Here are 3:
1. Navigating uncertainty invites new ideas
Although some would argue that creativity is a biological trait, I believe that we are all innately creative. And, learning to be creative is actually more about unlearning to hide our “wild side”, our crazy ideas, our authentic self. Luckily, each of you has your own individual combination of experiences and culture that cause you to see the world in a unique way. Often though you may shy away from being the minority voice, as it is often smoother/faster/easier to go with the majority opinion. However, the more you recognize and own your uniqueness, the more willing you are to “say it out loud”. And those different thoughts and opinions are at the heart of creativity.
2020 was a year when NO ONE knew what would come next. That majority voice was much quieter this year as, frankly, we were all feeling a bit lost. That allowed many of you to speak up and make suggestions about things that might not have been tried and tested. Whether you realized it or not, this contributed to your own creativity as well as to the creativity of those around you. Nice!
2. Being open to new experiences (whether you liked it or not) is related to creativity
There is research that suggests a relationship between openness to experience and creativity. It seems all of us have become more open to new experiences this year – whether we liked it or not! I remember some leaders for whom I was scheduled to run team sessions in March and April at first said, “Let’s wait until we can do it in person.” Then by summer, they realized if we didn’t do it virtually, we likely would not do it at all in 2020. And after we ran the workshop or training, 9 times out of 10 they told me how positively surprised they were about the level of connection, trust, and motivation we could build in a virtual session. We had to be creative together, to make those sessions work and engage the people.
This year, you tread into unknown territory and opened up to new experiences like a virtual team session. You left your comfort zone (far behind in many cases!). And, every time you step out of your comfort zone, your comfort zone gets bigger.
For many of you, not seeing your team was a real challenge. You felt uncertain about what they were working on and missed feeling the “team vibe”. You learned to get comfortable with this, too. And in many cases, you decided to be open to continuing remote working indefinitely.
You have been opening up to new experiences like this all year, and that increases your creativity.
3. Using new technologies expands your range of creative problem solving
Necessity is the mother of invention. Raise your hand if you did NOT try any new technologies this year. …No one? Indeed, I am certain ALL of us have. Embracing technology is a big part of the creativity you built as a leader this year. You have been putting in full effort to keep remote teams engaged and motivated. And, you went far beyond just zoom meetings. Also, you initiated rituals like virtual daily huddles. You explored having virtual coffee lounges using tools like donut.com, or holiday parties using wonder.me. This venturing into new technological territory expanded your range of problem-solving, it gave you new tools (literally and figuratively) which gave you the confidence to experiment. And if you are still looking for ideas, my newest team member Louise has put together a list of remote team boosting tips. Contact us if you would like to have a look!
I would love to learn about more examples that you have seen of creativity in leadership this year. Drop me an email or leave a comment below.