3 Reasons Why Creative Leadership Fails

Are you an intelligent leader? Or even better, do you exemplify Intelligent Creatership? Intelligent Creatership, or Creative Leadership, is Leadership that intellectually understands both the needs of the business and the potential of their team to maximize growth.

Creative leadership is the ability to analyze and realize how to synthesize creative solutions in the midst of constantly moving parts by both pushing the envelope and finding ways to expand it. It refers to those people who, when everything is shifting and new systems are yet unknown, can still motivate and create an environment conducive to innovative thinking and action.

As you read this, you might be identifying some people in your life that exemplify this. However, the hope is that you will begin to identify It within yourself as well. When I was younger I owned a production company. With over 5 departments and 20+ creaples (creative people), we were always seeking creative ways to do the same things in new and improved ways. We would meet often about what has been done and what we could do to continually improve upon it.

As a creative leader, I am always seeking to create an environment conducive for creativity; I live it and empower those around me to be as well. 

I want to give 3 quick reasons why creative leadership fail. 

  1. To avoid being viewed as foolish, we silence ourselves 

The reality in creative brainstorming is that freedom of failure has to be something that is embraced. A lesson learned as a kid, sometimes the initial response to the teacher’s question wasn’t that good, however, it kick-started the flow of thought for everyone else. We should give our creatership freedom to create and from that watch masterpieces be created. 

I recently learned that Life Church sought to creatively create a website that bridged bible, facebook and youtube all into one interactive resource. It flopped! However, what was birth out of failure was the YouVersion app that recently celebrated 1/4 Billion downloads. Think about that for a minute, what was a creative flop has turned into one of the most used resources in the App Generation. Be bold, be fearless, start creating!           

  1. We silence others to be the sole proprietor of creativity  

Many times in leadership, the leader wants to be the sole creator. If it wasn’t the leader’s idea or if it didn’t align with the leader’s way of thinking it was silenced. However, effective leaders allow people the freedom to create. When I led my team, some of our greatest contributions were birthed from my team’s unique ways of seeing the world. I empowered the team to think freely, respectfully oppose and full autonomy. 

So often we silence others in the quest to be creative, because we value our way of doing things more than the collective efforts of all. 

  1. To avoid being seen as rebellious…People only support the boss’ ideas rather challenge them 

Sometimes people will silence themselves in fear of the outcome of challenging. When leading my team and having brainstorming sessions with my inner circle, I would often echo the words let’s poke holes in it. I wanted my team to poke holes in everything so that we could see if the boat would survive with the holes or if we needed to just throw it away. I believe our success stemmed from the collective voices, which was empowered and reinforced by the lead. 

What Next? 

Here are three immediate action steps to spark a culture of creativity. 

First, give people room to play and/or explore. I like what Warren Bennis said, “There are two ways of being creative. One can sing and dance. Or one can create an environment in which singers and dancers can flourish.” Creativity often begins with a burst of half-baked ideas. Celebrate that “burstiness” and encourage continued creative burst. 

Secondly, activate people’s best selves. This means taking the time to get to know your people. Spend time with them in formal and informal settings. I personally love impromptu “overflow” conversations where passion is afforded the opportunity to squeeze through.

Lastly, we must personalize purpose, which means putting people in the right position to succeed. I believe every person is a creaple, however, we are not always in the right position to exude creativity. For instance, if you take a fish out of the water, it is overly concerned with trying to figure out a way to get back to water. When we put people in the right position, we give them the empowerment to create because they are not struggling to stay alive.


Robert, known by many as SE7EN, is a successful musician, speaker, poet, stepper, mime, actor, comedian, and producer. SE7EN, which means “completion” or “perfection,” symbolizes the completion that is found in his relationship with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While many would call such a person, “a jack of all trades and master of none,” Robert has adequately ascertained the tagline, “master of integration” for his uncanny ability to master the integration of various artistic expressions with his faith.

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