At Upping Your Elvis we know that Creative Leaders are more effective leaders. They are able to create environments which are not only more stimulating for their teams but also happier places to be. They have a workforce who are engaged, look forward to going to work every day and to be the very best they can be.

We know this because we have worked with organisations of many shapes and sizes and the evidence is clear to us.  However, we can only comment on those businesses we have worked with so thought it would be interesting to conduct some robust research to establish if what we observed could be demonstrated.

You will not be surprised to hear that the numbers are good. So we made an infographic with some of the key differences in attitude of those who work for Creative Leaders and those who don’t; we called these bosses ‘Safe Players’. Research was conducted by YouGov amongst 2082 UK adults, 1282 of which were working full or part time and the figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults.

But don’t just take our word or research for it.

There is a good deal of conversation and a growing body of evidence that creativity in business is essential to success. We can no longer rely purely on rational analysis. We often quote our friend Andy Fennel COO and President of Africa for Diageo who says ‘You cannot analyse your way to 10 out of 10. At best if you’re smart you might reach 6 or 7 but that will not win.’

In any business it is the leaders who create the climate, set the tone and provide the example so it is increasingly important that business leaders learn how to build a more effective creative culture.

Educationalist Ken Robinson in an article for Fast Company say’s

‘The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued. So it’s much more about creating climates. I think it’s a big shift for a lot of people.

I think forces such as extreme financial pressure make being creative more urgent. Being creative in business terms isn’t some sort of recreational pursuit, of just keeping the troops happy. It’s about being creative to a purpose. The purpose in a company is to improve the company’s impact and performance. Therefore any creative strategy is about either improving products and services or coming up with new possibilities or opportunities.’

Both Adobe and IBM have conducted their own research into the business impact of creativity.

The key findings from Adobe’s report ‘The Creative Dividend’ undertaken by Forrester in 2014 and available for download here were that;

Despite the perceived benefits of creativity, 61% of companies do not see their companies as creative.
More companies that foster creativity achieve exceptional revenue growth than peers.
More creative companies win recognition as a best place to work.
Companies put creativity on the business agenda.
Creativity thrives with leadership support. Regardless of type of business or industry, survey results found that executives and business leaders should nurture, fund, and promote programs to increase creative capability
In their 2010 Global CEO Study, IBM found that 60% of CEO’s believed that Creativity was going to be the most important leadership quality over the following five years.

In their more recent report ‘Cultivating organizational creativity in an age of complexity’ they interviewed 40 global business leaders and found that ‘leaders who embrace the dynamic tension between creative disruption and operational efficiency can create new models of extraordinary value.’ You can download the report here as it is well worth a read containing some compelling learning and identifying 4 Creative Leadership Archetypes.

So our conclusion is that Creative Leaders are the type of leaders that all business needs. This doesn’t mean turning up in sandals with colouring pens or doing the wacky things just for the sake of it. Business needs logic and rational thought otherwise it would be chaos. However, without the ability to challenge the status quo, fix things that are broken and innovate for growth, businesses won’t have much of a future.

It is easy to always do the same as before. The bigger challenge for business leaders is to encourage their teams to try new things, take risks and experiment safe in the knowledge that it won’t get them sacked. This is a more difficult culture to achieve but when they do so these types of leaders find themselves with a more engaged, happier and loyal group of employees.

We will share more of our findings over coming weeks and show;

Why we should have more fun at work
Why managers should encourage their teams to be more themselves at work
How learning and development affects attitudes and performance.
Download Infographic as pdf.

Download Infographic as jpeg.

As seen in

  • Fast Company
  • Gq Seeklogo Com
  • Harvard Business Review
  • The Guardian
  • The Sunday Times
  • Business Life