Robert J. Anderson and William A. Adams have some compelling answers. Anderson and Adams draw their data from more than one million (!) leaders they’ve surveyed worldwide. They asked respondents to provide written comments on effective leaders they’ve observed—the ones who get results, grow the business, enhance the culture, and nurture subsequent waves of effective leaders.
“Leadership is a profoundly human process. We (Anderson &Adams) believe becoming a better leader is exactly the same process as becoming a better person. Both are processes of transformation that enable us to grow beyond the person we are now. Leadership in a VUCA world requires that we evolve into a higher version of ourselves—one that is more competent and conscious, mature and wise, authentic and courageous, relational and purposeful—and that we support others in becoming the same.”
They have identified 18 key Creative Competencies, which fall into five categories.
These five categories include
- Achieving—the ability to envision, strategize and get results;
- Systems Awareness—an advanced capability to think systemically and design organizational systems for higher performance;
- Authenticity—the willingness to act with integrity, courageously speaking one’s the truth even when it is risky;
- Self-Awareness—the presence, balance composure and wisdom that come with increasing self-awareness; and
- Relating—the leadership capability to relate well to others, build teams, collaborate with, and develop people.
Their research reveal that these combined Creative Competencies are highly correlated to measures of Leadership Effectiveness and to measures of Business Performance.
In short, Creative Leadership is highly effective.
So we can state now, that good leaders are creative rather than reactive. In other words, they anticipate future demands and trends and make new products or tailor the ones they already have to suit that future. In addition, they are ready to transform to a better person. To a better leader.
It’s more important than ever to be able to understand how those changes will affect your business and establish ways to take full advantage of those changes.
So, are you a creative or reactive leader?
Here’s how you can test your potential.
Creative business leaders are always asking themselves the following questions:
• What do potential customers really need, now?
• What worries them?
• What causes them pain?
• What would they be eager to buy?
• How can I make our current customers happier?
• How can we make the products we sell them better?
• More useful?
• More valuable?
• What do I need to do to support myself and others in the team better?
• How I can be more self-aware?
• How much I’m aware of my and my people’s strengths and qualities?
• Where do I place my focus during a day? Am I reacting to or living the different moments?
• How often I find myself ‘out of control’? And what do I do about it?
Do you ask yourself these questions? Regularly? And if you do, do you come up with not just good, rather great answers, answers that can advance your business?
Test your creative skills against the following checklist.
• internally driven
• focused on the work, not politics
• goal-oriented around, rather than crisis-centered
• good relationship builder
• make full use of your strongest talents
• set aggressive long-term goals
The following are traits of “reactive” leaders who generally:
• are motivated by external factors like money and power
• are focused on corporate politics, not the work
• allow their time to be dictated by what’s in their inbox
• sometimes ignore their strongest talents in favor of “good management”
• plan in one- to five-year increments
• they believe nothing is sacred and relationships are expendable
• typically emphasize caution over creating results
• self-protective over productive engagement
• more aggressive over building alignment
• overemphasize the focus on gaining the approval of others
• not ready to make mistakes
• protecting oneself and getting results through high-control tactics
I want to note though that reactive leaders can and do get results, and these results are sometimes extraordinary. They may sell more, innovate more, and deliver more than anyone else in the organization. However, High-Reactive leaders identify with their strengths—overdeveloping them while under-developing others. They may be achieving extraordinary results, but they do so at the expense of those who report to and work with them. Ultimately, this limits scale.
So how many of those reactive characteristics apply to you?
How would you grade yourself?
Anywhere from 70% to 80% of adults are operating from the structure of mind and heart. It’s not complex enough for the realities of leadership today. This puts us in spiritual boot camp—a process of profound transformation where the self that got us here is dismantled and reconstructed at the next higher level of generative power and elegance. Only about 20% of adults navigate this transition successfully which explains why most leaders lead Reactively.
The best leaders are long-term oriented, people-friendly, loyal, eager to be a better person and to provide better products and services, and unconcerned about where they stand in just about any pecking order. And that’s something to think about.
If you’d rather think about it with a business coach – take a trial with me.
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Credit to: actionCOACH and Forbes