Leadership: Cultivating a Brilliant Creative Team
When cultivating a creative team, don't make the common mistake of only looking for technicians. And don't fool yourself into thinking you can just "hire" smart people and manage them with traditional leadership if you want to achieve something spectacular. Brilliance and super-creativity can only be cultivated and recognized by creative brilliance itself. You can't ask for or get what you don't understand yourself, and this is one of the key challenges of leadership.
To even have a conversation about uncommon brilliance you must develop a new vocabulary of freedom, which is mostly foreign in corporate cultures. This communication involves a type of two-way trust between you and your "employees". There are many ways we contract with others. Repressive relationships create resentment, while trusting relationships create the free space for magic to happen. Cultivating creative magic is like growing crystals; with the proper ingredients and environment the laws of nature take over and the crystals appear. It is the same when we are trying to crystalize production of the most coveted human resource--creative brilliance. First, the right environment and ingredients must be present. It is your job as a leader to provide those ingredients and environment, and then let the laws work for you. Similar to the laws guiding the formation of crystals are constructs which allow ideas to flourish and crystallize in the mind. It is not the job of leadership to force or direct creative output, but only to create the environment. Creative culture is achieved through wise and gentle cultivation, not direct manipulation.
Too few leaders understand the style of benevolent governing that sets the best in people free. Creating an organic creative culture takes patience and a true understanding of the importance of freedom and respect. Control and domination do yield some results, but are not the tools of the master-crafters who are fueled by freedom and passion. True brilliance is wild and messy, not obedient or orderly. Control and greed; what more can be said--this is the 20th century summed up. Control and greed should be the definition for poor leadership. Fostering and partaking in the rare brilliance of a truly creative culture is an art-craft--not business. The human resources department needs to be seen as the "Holy-of-Holies" in the corporate temple. Employees should be respected above all--especially above single dimensional profits. If there is no respect for the employees, then you have the wrong employees or the wrong management, or both. Freedom, respect and commonwealth form the triad par excellence of any creative culture.
Freedom, respect and commonwealth form the triad par excellence of any creative culture.
If you want cutting-edge genius from your employees, what are you providing equally cutting-edge and genius? Don't ask for what you cannot give. Lead by example. Care for your "employees," those "employed" in the endeavor of expressing their unique fingerprint of creative brilliance.
Leadership resources should be used to provide employees the protection and freedom they need to feel safe and valued. Real leaders use their strength to shield employees from the foul machinations of common corporate culture. When you shoulder that weight, and release your team from the suffocating pressure all too common in today's corporate culture, they will rise to great heights of loyalty and creative brilliance.
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Notice - This text is unedited and came from transcriptions of speaking events and seminars. Please excuse any problems with the material. It will be edited in the future.