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Learning the shift to creative leadership

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The scientific study of leadership reveals that leadership consists of two journeys- the journey of self-discovery, which is a personal leadership journey, and the journey to creative leadership. As the inventor of the iPhone, Steve Jobs, said, it is the journey to make a dent in the universe.

Actual leadership begins with personal leadership- the art and science of leading oneself. You have to start with personal leadership, as it is the foundation for great leadership. You must learn to lead yourself before leading others.

Leading yourself creates your personal leadership philosophy- good character, a prosperity mindset, principles and practices. Certainly, you cannot stop at leading yourself. To reach your full potential, you must push through to creative leadership.

Creative leadership is a shift towards a creative orientation, an approach to creative problem-solving. It is a shift from an internal to external focus and about making your own dent in the universe. Your personal leadership of the way you carry yourself about daily is your preparation for the real journey of creative leadership in the modern world.

There is the new leadership challenge in the world today. The way they led in the past has been made obsolete by technology. Great leaders have no inborn quality; they are ordinary people like you and I, who have to make decisions to do extraordinary things.

“When you are growing up, you tend to get told the world is the way it is and you are just to live your life inside the world. Try not to bash into the walls too much. Try to have a nice family, have fun, save a little money. That’s very limited life. Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people who were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you will never be the same again,” said Jobs.

It is the decision to do something extraordinary, to make a dent in the universe, that triggers the shift from personal to creative leadership.

The shift to creative leadership is a step all great leaders must take. Yet, it is a step many leaders fail to take. It is a step no Nigerian leader has ever taken, because creative leadership is filled with danger, uncertainty and risk, and far too many leaders prefer to remain safe to risking the unknown.

Over the past few years, the shift to creative leadership has become more urgent than ever. The world of today demands more creative leaders because of technological advancement and climate change.

The top leadership qualities from International Business Machine’s (IBM) 2010 Global Leadership Study are illustrated thus: Creativity 60 per cent, Integrity 52 per cent, Global thinking 35 per cent, Influence 30 per cent, Openness 28 per cent, Dedication 26 per cent, Focus on sustainability 26 per cent, Humility 12 per cent, Fairness 12 per cent.

Creativity topped the list because in today’s world, creativity is in high demand. Creativity is essential, since the world is going to be significantly different from the past. In these times, it is becoming more and more difficult to apply yesterday’s practices to the problems of today. The old leadership rule book is obsolete and being re-written to deal with the new reality.

When uncertainty is high, you cannot repeat the practices of the past. What you need is new ways of thinking, new ways of working and new ways of leading. Making your way in the world no longer take just courage; it demands creativity.

Thus, Nigeria has to make the shift from the current style of leadership towards creative leadership. If you don’t leave your past in the past, it would destroy your future. Live for what today has to offer, not for what yesterday has taken away.


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