“I’m more of a caretaker leader than an agent of change or creator” Jaques (not his real name) said to me. Actually, I should say, misspoke to me. During my conversation with him as a leadership coach in London.
Leaders create. There are two meanings of the word create in the way that I use it here with leaders. There is a surface level and also a deep level. The surface level is the type that is usually meant, when you create new products or services, create organizational restructuring, etc. This can be a big change but it is surface-level creation because often the change or creation is set, is produced by a consultant or internal strategy team, and is usually narrowly focused on the targets of profit or shareholder value.
All good business sense according to most theories, and also. In my business coaching and leadership coaching, I try to focus on deep-level creation. This type of creation usually takes time for the leader to build confidence in, but is a true, powerful, and deeply fulfilling creation.
This is a creation that cannot be planned, although how you come about the process of creation can be planned. Because true creation is something that arises in the moment. Later you may use business processes to smooth it over or make it suitable for the outside world, but that is processing not creation.
Here I want to share two ways that you can undergo the process of creation which are in the best leadership book. The first, by Robert Fritz, is to create. Create something, anything. Write an article. Draw a picture. Try some random maths questions. But do it unplanned and in the moment. Do this daily if you can. It will build your creative muscle. Soon it will creep into your speeches, business plans, and interactions over Zoom.
Secondly, from William Whitecloud, ask your unconscious mind for a symbol. Any symbol. Then write what that symbol means to you. Make it up, make up the interpretation of the symbol, and write for 15 minutes. What are writing at that moment is likely to be unplanned and from a deeper place of creation and will no doubt even surprise you when you read it back to yourself.
Having built the creation muscle watch your interactions with your staff. You will be more present, have more ideas, have more fun and be a better leader.