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Creative leaders are more likely to empower their team members with new ways of doing things, says Dickson Tang, keynote speaker and author.

As many organisations continue to operate in a hybrid work environment, HR and business leaders are being asked to develop new skills and perspectives to lead business transformation and address workforce shifts in their organisation.

To do so effectively, many have been compelled to deviate from previously entrenched practices and demonstrate out-of-the-box thinking to introduce their own style of creative leadership.

Speaking with HRM Magazine Asia, Dickson Tang, keynote speaker and author of the book, Leadership for Future of Work, said, “To me, creative leadership is your ability to unlock your team’s ideas and creativity towards future business growth. In a VUCA world filled with volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity, figuring out the path to future business growth is one of the priorities for modern organisations.”

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“Creative leaders are also likely to empower their team members with new ways of doing things. They will ask questions such as: Is there something we should stop doing as a team, or is there something we should start doing as a team?” – Dickson Tang, keynote speaker and author.

To identify creative leaders in your organisation, Tang suggested looking out for individuals who are curious, open to new possibilities, and possess a “why not” attitude. They must also embrace the challenge of generating, organising, and prioritising new ideas, particularly those that support business growth and improvement.

He added, “Creative leaders are also likely to empower their team members with new ways of doing things. They will ask questions such as: Is there something we should stop doing as a team, or is there something we should start doing as a team?”

Developing people and driving business growth with creative leadership

After identifying the creative leaders in their ranks, organisations can leverage on them to embed a “why not” mindset, and encourage employees to come up with new possibilities and eradicating “cannot do” attitudes.

Creative leaders can also turn regular team meetings into ideation sessions by engaging members to express their ideas, rather than routinely going through the regular agenda items in meeting minutes.

Tang elaborated, “Get your team members to come up with new ideas to enhance the employee experience and to identify new revenue growth opportunities. The small shift from ‘updating’ to ‘ideating’ carries big impact to your team and to your business.”

Lastly, creative leaders must consider current practices and whether they are still relevant and effective as the business environment and organisational needs continue to change rapidly.

“Sometimes, your team might be too comfortable working in the trenches and are repeating the same processes from the past. You may want to get your members to pause and think about the things that they should stop doing as a team,” Tang explained.

Supporting a culture of creative leadership in a hybrid work environment

As creatures of habit, it is perhaps not surprising that many people struggled to adapt to the life changes the pandemic brought, including in the workplace.

Traditionally, employees have been trained to think in a logical and practical manner that places the focus on ‘feasibilities’ where team members are very comfortable focusing on whether a business idea is practical or achievable based on business constraints.

However, to tap into future growth opportunities, creative leaders must help to build a culture of “possibilities”, where team members are encouraged to brainstorm and visualise a range of potential options, without considering their practicality at the start, Tang said.

“This open-ended approach helps unlock new possibilities related to new products, new services, and new ways of operation,” he explained, while going to highlight how, in a hybrid work environment, creative leadership also entails encouraging the creation of ideas through both synchronous and asynchronous ideation.

While synchronous ideation means getting team members together to brainstorm in real-time, for example, through a live brainstorming session over Zoom, asynchronous ideation is about getting team members to contribute ideas by a deadline.

Tang concluded, “With hybrid team members spreading across multiple time zones and work locations, asynchronous ideation is easier to arrange and allows team members to contribute a diverse range of ideas.”


To find out more about how you can accelerate business growth with creative leadership in a hybrid work environment, join Dickson Tang at HR Tech Festival Asia 2023 on May 11, 10.05am (SGT).



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