Reflecting on the nature of leadership in the time of an election, as well as in continued times of shifting states of crisis is an interesting thing to ponder. It seems that we should want leaders who act not only in the interest of the people here and now, but also in the vision of being good ancestors and stewards of the state of things for future generations. How do we plant the seeds now that become the shade trees of our grandchildren?
But while we need a long-term vision, we also need resilient creative and innovative thinking that examines the state of how things are and imagines the world that could be, rather than relying on patterns of the past. Mindful growth is possible. Shifts and developments that acknowledge the complexity of impact with every decision we make, and ultimately work to leave things better than we found them.
This means thinking about how we can do good things, and do things differently so they can be less extractive, less resource intensive, and more conducive to the wellbeing of the people and the planet.
It is in this way that I believe we need artistic leaders. We need people who can think creatively and can tell meaningful stories that resonate with what it means to be a caring and compassionate human who is connected to the community around them. We need to be reflective of the world, but serve as transforming prisms taking in light and reflecting out diverse spectrums of colour and possibility.
We want innovation. We want to utilise what we have so we can all live a happier and connected life. A life where everyone has the capacity and opportunity to thrive. A life that embraces the value of embodied and diverse lived experiences, and realises the richness of those perspectives and possibilities.
We also want problem solvers. People who can look at the available dots and create new structures from unlikely combinations. People who can take the sounds of city life and orchestrate a symphony of inspired and interwoven sonic tapestries. We want leaders who can help us all live well – to find more balance. More time for family and friends and hobbies and recreational pursuits. To enhance what we do and the way we do it so we equitably enable the abundance to flow amongst all people.
And how can we do this? Engaging in proactive opportunities to set new priorities and enable time for more balance. To reset our intentions to find moments for awe and wonder and meaning making as tools for innovative perspective shifts. To engage in regular creative practice as a way to inspire new possibilities. To celebrate artistic activity as a circuit breaker and catalyst for a more colourful and diverse vision for the future.
And while this may seem like a bunch of nice words that perhaps doesn’t understand the true nature of the world around us – I would offer that perhaps it is the fresh perspective that will drive the next generation of change makers. It is a disruptive marker of groundbreaking possibility that must be given a chance. It can be easy to dismiss something if you have never stretched into the growth mindset to explore new opportunities. It is reflective of ancient wisdom that can be found in all cultures, but repackaged for an ever evolving future.
So, if you are looking to grow as a leader, or are looking to refresh your leadership to make the most of the next phase of development and evolution, then perhaps giving the opportunity for regular playful creative activity will be that thing that helps you stand out. “Creativity can promote inspiration as well as the motivation to achieve our happiest and most successful business and home lives… Creativity is the only investment that never fails.”