The world needs more creative leaders

In the post “There is hope” in November 2015 I shared with you that 80% of today’s leaders act from a mind-set focused on threats, fears and problems, and only focus on removing, fixing or reducing these (Mastering Leadership by Bob Anderson & Bill Adams). Their actions do not support meaningful and sustainable improvements. They are called reactive leaders. Can you come up with some examples? Only 20% of leaders design their actions based on purpose, vision and passion. These are the leaders who are able to drive real transformations. They both Dare (take risks) and really Care about the people they lead, they Play to Win (Care to Dare by George Kohlrieser, Susan Goldsworthy & Duncan Coombe). These leaders are called creative leaders, nothing directly to do with creativity, but all with acting out of a choice rather than habit, based on a positive purpose, vision and passion. One example is Nelson Mandela; the world needs more of these types of leaders.

Whereas caring is predominantly influenced by the ability to bond with people, daring is dependent on what one focuses on, i.e. the positive or the negative. As human beings we are hardwired at the deepest level of our brain to look out for danger, i.e. what can go wrong. Therefore, it takes deliberate effort and practice to train one’s mind to focus on the positive.

During the research for my doctorate (Effectiveness of Leadership Coaching – An Integrated Evaluation Framework by Willem Jan Hofmans) data was collected for 30 leaders at various levels in different organizations. One element had to do with the objectives these leaders wanted to achieve while working with a professional coach. Out of a total of 95 objectives, 49 (52%) had to do with improving the ability to relate, or bond, with other people and 22 (23%) with strengthening skills to effectively articulate a vision/purpose, have a strategic focus and decide. It is also worth mentioning that 14 (15%) objectives had to do with improving self-awareness.

It is intriguing how these results fit quite nicely with the characteristics mentioned above. The interesting question is what could have been done differently for these leaders to prepare them better and, possibly, earlier. This is at the foundation of what we are aiming for with YIELD, the Youth Institute for Excellence in Leadership Development (www.yield-association.org). We are convinced that by starting/accelerating leadership development at an earlier age the percentage of high caring/high daring leaders can be increased significantly. In our program for 18-24* year olds (exceptions until 30 will be considered) the main emphasis is on “leading self”, because one should not even think about “leading others” if one is incapable of leading oneself. To find out more about our Accelerated Leadership Development Program and the dates & locations for 2018, please go to http://www.yield-association.org/accelerated-leadership-development-program.php.

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