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A strong company culture built on innovation is integral if a business wants to make it in today’s world.

Given the business space’s rapid evolution and transformation due to technological advancements, business leaders now face the challenge of finding ways to make their company truly stand out from the rest.

As a result, it is crucial for them to foster a culture of innovation and creativity at the workplace, and what better way to do this then to lead by example?

Creative leaders are those individuals who are able to take an innovative approach to problem-solving, utilising new ideas generated independently and collectively with others to inspire change within a business and take action. This can open the door to new opportunities for business growth that make the business unique from the rest.

Hence, here are six ways business leaders can demonstrate this form of leadership.

1) Focus on the team rather than on yourself

It is important for business leaders to first recognise that creative leadership has little to do with their creativity, and everything to do with the team’s creativity. After all, it is all about leading a team.

A company’s team is made up of a number of different people, each of whom have varying ideas.

Tapping into the cumulative creativity of 10 or 100 people will undoubtedly bring into play more innovative ideas than doing so with one person, no matter how creative that business leader is.

2) Identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses

As previously mentioned, a team is made up of different ideas, personalities, and experiences.

Therefore, a business leader must assess whether the diversity present caters to enough areas, identifying the key strengths and weaknesses of the whole team.

Some people will be great with certain ideas, but poor in terms of implementation. Others are the opposite. Some view the big picture well, yet then are inefficient when it comes to identifying certain details.

By identifying strengths and weaknesses and utilising them to the company’s advantage, business leaders can be sure that their team is not only creative, but that it results in innovation.

3) Trust others

A team is ultimately built on trust.

There has been a consensus from business leaders that micromanagement is not an efficient way to run a business, as it shows a lack of trust and faith in others. Another disadvantage is that it does not allow team members to think and make simple decisions themselves.

Business leaders need to promote creativity, rather than be bogged down in trivial details.

They have to trust them, give them clear goals, budgets and tools, but also give them the freedom to work out their own ways to reach those goals.

Ultimately, they have to learn by trying. If they are successful, then their approaches might be better than initially expected. If not, they can learn from their mistakes, try again, and learn more in the process.

4) Embrace failure

Tied to the previous point, if people are not allowed to fail from time to time, they will never be able to think outside the box and succeed.

Business leaders who aim to foster creativity have to encourage people to try, fail early, and try again.

Should they seem stuck and unable to proceed, then that is the business leader’s cue to pitch in and help out, guiding them throughout the process.

5) Inspire debate

A diverse team has diverse opinions and ideas, which will undoubtedly lead to disagreements between different individuals.

Instead of quelling any form of disagreement to avoid bad feelings among employees, business leaders must use that disagreement to form a healthy and respectful debate.

Debate allows team members to see things from different perspectives, strengthening their ideas and also possibly rethink any flawed ideas.

6) Implement ideas

Lastly, a creative team will generate a number of ideas, but as a business leader, one has to contribute both in terms of championing an idea, as well as helping it come true.

In some cases, business leaders will have to champion ideas that they do not like, but which offer value both to the organisation and to its customers. Doing so will help team members recognise that the business leader is openly devoted to the team rather than focusing on themselves, an act that motivates them to continue thinking creatively.

Additionally, an idea is practically of no value without effective implementation. The path towards putting these ideas in place is not always easy, as a clear process has to be established. These innovations have the potential to significantly change things for the better in the business, yet they do come with their risks. Hence, it is important to plan beforehand and assess the costs and benefits accordingly.

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