He who forms the mountains,
who creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord God Almighty is his name. ~ Amos 4:13
Fostering a culture of creativity is no easy task for leaders. Creativity is filled with much contradiction, ambuiguity, and messiness. And yet, as leaders, we should seek to bring creativity out of those we lead.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont College and author of the book Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, said
“Of all human activities, creativity comes closest to providing the fulfillment we all hope to get in our lives.”
Embracing our creativity, if often filled with contradictions.
From Psychology Today
“Creative individuals are remarkable for their ability to adapt to almost any situation and to make do with whatever is at hand to reach their goals. If I had to express in one word what makes their personalities different from others, it’s complexity. They show tendencies of thought and action that in most people are segregated. They contain contradictory extremes; instead of being an ‘individual,’ each of them is a ‘multitude.'”
The article goes on to list 10 antithetical traits common in creative people.
1. Creative people have a great deal of physical energy, but they’re also often quiet and at rest.
2. Creative people tend to be smart yet naive at the same time.
3. Creative people combine playfulness and discipline, or responsibility and irresponsibility.
4. Creative people alternate between imagination and fantasy, and a rooted sense of reality.
5. Creative people trend to be both extroverted and introverted.
6. Creative people are humble and proud at the same time.
7. Creative people, to an extent, escape rigid gender role stereotyping.
8. Creative people are both rebellious and conservative.
9. Most creative people are very passionate about their work, yet they can be extremely objective about it as well.
10. Creative people’s openness and sensitivity often exposes them to suffering and pain, yet also to a great deal of enjoyment.
Does this sound like any of the people on your team or in your ministry?
So many of the people we lead are filled with these apparent contradictions. We should avoid looking at one behavior or another and make assumptions about creativity or lack of creativity.
Similarly, we as leaders, if we are to truly nurture creativity in those we lead, we will need to become comfortable with results that do not meet our expectations, but are, none the less, creative.
“The stupidest possible creative act is still a creative act.”
Think of it. No matter how silly or feeble the result, the attempt is still creative.
Those we lead in our churches and ministries need to be encouraged to engage in the creative act, and not worry about judgment.
“On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something…”
So this begs a few questions.
Are we as church leaders willing to accept and even embrace the seeming contradictions in creatives and even encourage these contradictions by moving those we lead along the spectrum of creative work?Poor leaders walk into the room with all the answers. A Servant Leader walks in believing the answers are already in the room. Click To Tweet
Are we as leaders willing to push others to bridge the gap between doing nothing and something?
Are we as leaders willing to accept the contradictions of creativity, the spectrum of creative work, help those we lead bridge the gaps between action and inaction?
Are we as church and minsitry leaders we must become comfortable with the messiness and fuzziness that is creativity.A poor leader give their followers permission to speak. A Servant Leader gives their followers freedom to THINK. Click To Tweet
“…and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills” Exodus 35:31