Aren’t you tired of following an instruction manual all your life? After all the learning and following the instructions, what is that you want to do in life? Often, these are the questions or dilemmas faced by the young professionals. There is a dearth of creative leadership in businesses and organizations.
As leaders we need to understand the importance of creative leadership because it is our responsibility to tap into the creativity of our employees and give them a chance to use them. Creative leadership enables to build a bridge of innovation and mutual growth in an organization.
Importance of creative leadership
From our childhood we are taught to do everything. Every step we take is planned beforehand. Our movements and interests are calculated. Even our choices are predetermined. With all this spoon feeding, we forget we have a hand. All the more, no one informs us about the importance of creativity. As humans, we are lucky to choose what we want in life but unfortunately most of us are still unaware about it. We have become like the frozen canned foods that are available in the supermarket. Ready to cook and eat. However, we complain about lack of spices in them.
Creative leadership is the solution to eradicate stagnancy in productivity among employees. To rekindle the fire, leaders need to trust their employees. Give them a chance to grow from a seed to a tree. When a seed is given the space and water, they consume it, drop everything that weighs them down and refuse to die. Likewise, a leader should understand the need for creative leadership in business.
Creative leadership in practice
At Jaipur Rugs, we believe in growing together. Our focus has always been to give our employees the space they need to conceptualize their creativity and talent. We hire candidates on the basis of their passion and purpose and not just by qualifications, for this we initiated the change by naming our HR department to ‘The search for a divine soul.’ I feel mutual growth is necessary for happiness. Our employees are given utmost freedom to find their area of interest while they work and are given a chance to switch their positions.
One such example is Mr. Rameswar, a Branch Manager in Gujarat. He has been working with me for the past 20 years. When he started, he was earning rupees 50 per month, as a weaver. He was promoted from weaver, to a map reader, to an area commander, and finally to a branch manager earning rupees 50,000/- per month.
Harphool, our branch manager from Aspura, is another treasure whose talents were given space to explore, eventually. Harphool started working at a very young age. Though he sustained severe injuries at work, he continued at the loom due to his grim circumstance. He eventually found a weaving group and started learning new techniques in weaving, that’s when I met him. I was impressed by his work and asked him to join my organization as a quality supervisor. He was startled.
Harphool later became one of the leading recruiters of weavers. Within six months, he brought 79 new looms into our organization by handling all the arrangements. He supervises 42 villages and is training his team to become managers and entrepreneurs in their own space now.
Nurturing creative leadership skills
To channelize creativity, we need to shed our inhibitions. Leaders should understand the importance of creativity in a team and be ready to take up risk and give their employees the creative freedom they require. Often it is from the most unexpected places that something extraordinary comes up.
We started an initiative, called ‘Manchaha,’ at Jaipur Rugs a few years back. A design experiment with non-designers (artisans), an opportunity to create and express themselves which was the idea of my daughter, Kavita Chaudhary. Our initiative took our weavers to win seven international awards including the German design award. Weavers who haven’t stepped out of their villages travelled all the way to Europe to collect the awards.
Out of simplicity arises innovation. As leaders do you want to restrict the growth of your organization or nurture it to grow further? A linear view restricts the possibilities and surrenders to limitations. Remember, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’
-the concept of ‘Manchaha’ as mentioned here is an excellent application of ‘Humanocracy’ by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini.