The Creative Leader, Are You One of These Rare People?

Ron Sparks
3 min readMar 13, 2017

I’ve been using the phrase “Creative Leaders” lately to describe those I identify with, those who seem to work in a similar head space regardless of their domain or role. But who are these people and why do they matter?

You, like other leaders, want to create amazing new products, foster growth and have clients knocking on your door. In our new economy of automation, global talent, and rapid innovation, Creative Leaders are key to successful ventures. But you work amidst rapid change that demands a different way of viewing yourself as a leader. It’s not enough for you to tell people what to do or be right about the market. Success in this age requires the ability to craft new and valuable ideas, and Creative Leaders are the practitioners of this craft.

Creative leader? On one hand, corporate leaders often think of “creative thinkers” as a resource or talent. They might regard “creativity” as a leadership training tool, caught up in the world of institutions and corporate training.

On the flip side, creatives often see “leaders” as dry and out of touch.

But something’s happening. Creative thinkers are potential creative leaders. Why? Leadership is not simply based on organizing people, supplies, and technology.

Our times demand people lead ideas.

Creative Leaders, as I see them, are a different breed. They are the people who are not looking for corporate leadership development. Instead, their work is to challenge the status quo and bring others along in the purse of their vision. Creativity describes their mindset and ability to address problems in a creative way. Leadership is the position they are in because of this skill.

True Creative Leaders discover new ideas and make them. Because of that their ventures will thrive.


Can you identify what a Creative Leader looks like? Can you cultivate the required character in those around? Are you one?

The answer in all cases is “Yes!”

Creative Leaders:

Envision and create. They are those who can see, imagine, and discover the future, and then go there and bring people with them. (Example: Elon Musk, envision energy crisis solution and moves it forward on twitter)

Facilitate vision, using their skills to drive companies, products, and ideas forward. They also facilitate their own vision in start ups and art.

Are skydivers who can move very quickly from a thirty-thousand foot strategic view to a ground-level understanding of how things work. (Examples: I’ve been around a number of leaders with the skill to dive deep on details to drive quality and innovation in tech but it’s seen in other industries as well.)

Don’t mind seeing their smallness in the world, or rather, the universe. They are grounded, but not held back by their practicality.

Are motivated by more than profit. Their work is infused with impact. They have ideas and can see what direct action is needed in order to start, and they take it. They’re philosophers with a job to do. (Example: Blake Mycoskie focus on purpose.)

Understand story. They don’t just make up a story as they go. Instead, they guide its direction, they understand all the characters, and they recognize the importance of a challenge.

Work in the tension of the unknown, a state we humans hate to be in. They move to what’s next, not only stepping into the dark but building the bridge as they do between known and unknown, allowing other to join them.

A Unique Position and Rare Group

By laying out what this rare group of Creative Leaders looks like, I’m hoping to provide a better understanding of how we operate and collaborate, what challenges to expect and how to grow and refine these traits. After all, as these are traits, they can learned, cultivated and refined in ourselves and those around us.

Creative Leaders are in a unique position to guide and build the future. I want to be a part of that conversation, that story.

Originally published at RON SPARKS.



Ron Sparks

Sharing tools for creatives, leaders and teams to remap and reimagine their innovation process and get ridiculously good at design.