Creative Leadership isn’t just a buzz phrase. It’s a way of life. Finding innovative solutions to old problems. Defining new processes no one has even considered. You – creative person – could change the course of an organization for the better!
Yeah right. I’m not in upper management in my company or on the board of my special interest organization. They won’t listen to me.
As in any situation, there’s a right way and a wrong way to present an idea. I’ll let you in on a little secret. Not everyone can see what you see. You’d be surprised how many folks out there have let their imaginations dwindle due to lack of use. The “We’ve always done it this way” mentality is easier. It’s safer. Most people hate change. It scares the hell out of them.
Umbrella in mass of black umbrellas. Adobe Stock
Here are some tips when presenting an idea to the skittish establishment:
- Present your idea along with the benefits (what’s in it for them: time saved, money saved, etc.) to the company or organization
- Show the research you’ve done to prove it is a feasible idea
- Help them to see what you’re talking about by including Powerpoint presentations or other visual aids
- Be patient if they aren’t immediately “wowed” by your idea. You must build trust first.
- Stick with it! Large organizations don’t change quickly. It takes time to turn a huge ship.
Final thoughts: Coffee shop conversations are littered with “I just want to write books, play my music, do my art, etc.” I know I’ve said it too when I’m frustrated. However, we are more than our art. We have the power to inspire change and hope (desperately needed in these times). My challenge to you – Look around you in the day job or organization. Do you see any way you can help to inspire change? Is there an opportunity to encourage growth and bring a little positive light into the situation? If your answer’s “No”, then you are in the wrong job! Go find a place where you can make a difference. The world needs your gift.
My cat crushed his yearly vet check up last week. The vet lifted him off the scales, kitty grabbed it and threw it off the counter like a boss. Grrrr! The vet was all smiles and told me kitty has now reached his perfect weight. After struggling since 2008 to get rid of that pesky extra pound, we finally made it! My geriatric dog, Buddy, has also reached is ideal weight. What changed over this year? I feed them the same amount. We’ve kept to our walking routine though Buddy has slowed down and his distance has shortened (he’s well over 90 in human years). So what changed?
ME! My eating habits and the way I think about food has changed. What I didn’t realize until this vet visit was just how much my habits – good and bad – impact my pets.
This new revelation got me thinking about my role as a leader. Attitude is also habit. We’ve all seen how infectious a negative person’s attitude can be to a team. It spreads faster than the flu. Whispered gossip and petty bickering between team members will derail a project faster than any risk. If allowed to run wild, the team’s chance of successfully reaching project goals severely decreases.
The leader’s attitude can make or break a project.
I’ll be honest. Leader is one of the toughest roles I have to play in life. Nothing irritates me more than a negative team member who uses passive-aggressive behavior to spread drama and negativity. I’ve seen this taken to the extreme. One person was so entrenched in her spiteful behavior, she was willing to actively work on destroying a program rather than allow others to be successful. This person was finally removed. The simple change turned the team around and they were successful.
One powerful secret weapon I use as a leader is my habitual positive attitude. Being positive allows your mind to remain open to new ideas and opinions. Most folks would rather follow a leader who exudes positive thoughts and encouragement. They shy away from the old grump who insists on continuing down the same comfortable, but unproductive path.
Remember: Being positive isn’t always easy. Everybody has their bad days. If you work at staying positive and being an encourager to your team, it will eventually become a useful habit. Promoting a positive environment results in increased productivity and more job satisfaction for you and your team.