Unit 2, Blog Entry 2: Creative Leadership: Humility and Being Wrong

I just stumbled across a great article on Forbes titled Creative Leadership, Humility and Being Wrong. From the article:

Creative leadership is built on the idea that everyone at every level in the organization is a leader; that leaders must know themselves, alert to their failings and graces, to better serve the organization; and that only by mastering complexity – both human and organizational – will leaders be able to achieve alignment.

In a profession that is so driven by egos, we are particularly susceptible to wanting to hide our weaknesses, yet acknowledging these shortcomings truly is a strength, for why do we have weaknesses if not to teach us how to turn them into strengths? I have had the great opportunity of working with and learning from leaders who have been quick to acknowledge their unfamiliarity with certain interactive media. I truly respected their input and insights as creative professionals, and more often than not, their insights made the work better in every way. On the other hand, I have also had the misfortune of working with ‘leaders’ that felt threatened by their lack of understanding of how websites, for example, function and are created. They often presented their opinions more forcefully, which only made their ignorance more pronounced, and our teams and quality of work suffered significantly because of it.

A good friend and mentor once told me that “leadership is earned, not given.” I believe that an important character trait of every leader is their ability to embrace other people’s opinions and expertise, and to be smart enough to rely on other people’s knowledge in areas where his or her own are not as strong. It is this kind of leader that will inevitably promote creativity in a work environment, because as the old adage says “two heads work better than one.”