Today’s Check it Out links to a post talking about learning to see a room differently. Click here to give it a read.
I truly believe that effective leadership calls for both creativity and structure. There are times where being creative is the only way to move forward, and there are times where maximizing from the steps, mistakes and successes of others has already paved the way.
So, today, my question for you is simply: do you find yourself more naturally leading from creativity or from structure?
I wrestle with a heavy tendency to want to lead from a position of creativity. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I am a thinker. I joke that I spend about 90% of my time thinking about what I could do, and only 10% of the time actually doing it. The byproduct of that much thinking: creativity.
I fight against structure. I would much rather write my own Bible study, create my own logo, plan my own trip, or create a new wood working project than try to follow a blueprint written by someone else.
But, if we are going to be honest with each (and why wouldn’t we be honest?), my leaning to creativity is often times my greatest weakness. I suffer when I refuse to ever walk the path someone cleared before me.
Truthfully, I grow as a leader as I wrestle with this tension. Too much creativity, and my mistakes swallow me whole. Too much structure, and I get crushed under the weight.
So, which way do you naturally lean? How do you find balance between creating new and learning from the old? Please share your experiences!
On Tuesday I wrote about Leading from Creativity. You can check it out here.
Over the past week I’ve completed two woodworking projects. The first one, as I wrote about on Tuesday, developed from a place of creativity. The second one, however, had a blueprint.
Now, I’m not one who usually likes to follow someone else’s plans, but I knew I wanted a bar stool for our new house and had no clue where to start. So I found a site where someone had already gone through the process and laid out their steps, and my goal was to simply follow what they did.
I followed the process, making a few adjustments (read:mistakes) here and there. The end result was something I could be very proud of: something that looks like a real piece of furniture!
Leadership can be the same way sometimes. We don’t always have to blaze a new trail, leading from creativity. There are plenty of times in leadership when we can benefit from the leadership and experience of those who have gone before us.
This may mean reading books or blogs (like this one!) and putting into practice what you learn. Or maybe you learn better by listening to podcasts, or sitting down over meals.
Ultimately, learning from the experiences of those who have walked the path of leadership before you helps you navigate the path of leadership more efficiently.
How are you making the most of the structure around you? Are you reading books regularly? Are you meeting with mentors consistently? Are you gleaning from the wisdom and experiences of others? Find a way today to benefit from the hard work someone else has put into their own experience and you’ll be a better leader because of it.
Today’s link back goes to a post talking about the how of developing leaders. Here’s a clip, click here for the rest.
However, knowledge of a subject does not lead to experience in the subject. We cannot neglect real world leading as a teaching tool if we desire to develop leaders.
Over the past 4 days I’ve completed two different projects, both of which have been furniture. The process I used to accomplish each one is quite different, however.
My first project was something I’m calling a “grill prep station”. It’s construction was very basic. I had two pallets, one of which I was able to cut in half and still keep each half uniform in build. I attached the half pallets to the full size pallet, added a couple 2×8 boards I had laying around, and found three or four more boards to complete the project.
I only cut one or two boards, but everything else was very much a “this might work here” progression. In the end, I love my prep station. There’s room for growth, and I can change things around without any remorse, because it wasn’t supposed to match a blueprint anyway.
The end result is a place for me to place plates, food, seasonings, drinks, and my bluetooth speaker, all while enjoying an evening grilling.
Some leadership experiences are like this: I’m going to make the most of what I have, get creative, and be proud of the end result.
We may find ourselves in an unorthodox situation, and leading requires out of the box thinking. This is natural and beneficial for a team.
Leaders who can see what I refer to as the Horizon of Possibility, look at the materials that have been given to them, and they create what they can dream. The materials may be physical, financial, or in terms of personnel, but the end result is something worthy of satisfaction.
We can all probably think of someone who, with extremely limited resources and personnel, made a drastic impact on the world. They didn’t follow a blueprint, but instead said “this might work” and gave it a shot.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, embrace the freedom that comes from not having to follow a blueprint. You can make a mistake, but that’s okay. Roll with the mistake and make it a strength!
But don’t let yourself become tied to this way of leading as the only way. On Thursday, we will look at the benefits of the other method of leading: following a plan.