Ultimately, the heart of creativity is about change and, thus, the creative leader is a change agent. At the heart of this change agent lies three core values: growth, empathy, and authenticity.
In numerous works from Plato, Socrates admonishes his readers to "know thyself", and it is where the creative leader begins his journey. The more introspective each of us is, the more we begin to realize how difficult our true "self" is to grasp. Our "selves" are transient and impermanent entities that we can spend our lifetimes trying to understand and "know". This experience of the transient nature of who we are leads to an awareness that "we" are a web; a web of relationships with our fellow men and women, and a web of the meanings we provide to each other through our language and our metaphors.
As relational beings, authentic leaders embrace the many different selves we each possess, each a different pattern within our web of relationships. "We" are bosses, friends, lovers, husbands, wives, teachers, and villians. Authentic leaders also understand the transient nature of the values within these role configurations and know that there isn't one absolute perspective that must hold between its participants, but rather a perspective that has gained stability over time due to established agreement and practices between those participants."We" are what "we" agree to be.
This awareness liberates leaders to realize that we are not beholden to rules, but rather rules can be broken. To evoke creative change, all one must do is change the rules of the relationship. This is not an easy task, but it is also not impossible.
Becoming an authentic leader opens the doorway to becoming an empathetic leader. Knowing that our world and our sense of who we are is nothing more than socially constructed relationships, and also knowing that the values within those socially constructed relationships - the morals within - are also socially agreed upon and are not absolute leads to a natural softening of one's own hardened stance towards the beliefs and perspectives of others.
One realizes that their own values and beliefs may not be "right" in all instances and one begins to value the multiple perspectives of others. More importantly, an awareness that our "self" is nothing more than a relationship with others, that we truly are defined by "the other" and can not exist without them, leads to the realization that what we percieved as the opposite beliefs of the other is still part of oneself. We, often unknowingly, contribute to the development of those opposite beliefs and share them through our actions within our networks and connections.
These realizations of our beliefs as not being absolute, and the shared construction of opposite beliefs, leads to a progression of empathy. We begin to value other people, rather than mere priniciples.
The creative leader knows that empathy leads to the sharing of opposite perspectives and knows that the empathy-guided and, thus, peaceful, conflict that can result often leads to a new perspective. This perspective can be a true catalyst of change and agreed upon progress that benefits all.
Through an authentic understanding of one's interdependent "self" - that "we" are what "we" agree to be - and the empathy that comes with that authenticity - a valuing of people, rather than principles-one begins to feel a bouyancy, a sense of enlightenment and freedom because one realizes that they are never truly alone. In a world that is constructed collaboratively, and empathetically, with others, one realizes that our definition of "progress" is not the advancement of one's own needs but rather the advancement of everyone's needs. We are each exploring our so called personal journies together as one enormous world entity.
One realizes that a better life for oneself is interdependent on a better life for all the people within one's web of relationships and all of the people in their webs. It doesn't take long to realize that this ever sprawling and expanding set of relationships is nothing less than the entire world.
The suffering of one link in this dependent chain of webs brings suffering to myself; to my web of relationships, including those for whom I have the greatest empathy of all, the one's I love. Focusing on the personal advancement and growth of my "self" is about nothing less than ending suffering for the world by advancing the personal development and growth of the world.
The Creative Leader Changes Themselves, and, thus, the World
The creative leader knows that obtaining this growth and advancement is about helping the world achieve a state of flourishing, and that state of flourishing can only be based on a harmonious & empathetic balance of multiple perspectives towards a "good life" for everyone on this planet. To be a creative leaders means to be a change agent focused on changing the world.
The creative leader seeks to know themselves and ends up knowing the world.
The creative leader ends up knowing the world, and ends up feeling solidarity and compassion towards it.
The creative leader feels solidarity and compassion towards the world, and ends up focusing on the flourishing of everyone within it.