Seems like everyone is talking about creativity and innovation these days. I just read a great WSJ Opinion on the link between creativity and leadership.
The author, Justin Brady, argues that three leadership traits are needed to foster creativity: the ability to listen, to empathize, and to trust. He says that true listening opens the listener up to insights and the talker responds to being listened to with even more creativity.
In empathizing, leaders make it a priority to put themselves in the other person’s shoes and to find the truth in their words, again creating connection that spurs more innovation.
And, finally, in choosing to trust others, leaders set up the potential for valuable experimentation (think rapid prototyping and agile development), messy processes which can lead to innovative results.
So leaders need to embrace the chaos of collaboration and respond by listening with empathy and trust.