ESSENTIALS FOR CREATIVE LEADERSHIP
1. EXPAND YOUR CAPACITY
If you’re the biggest fish in the pond, you should probably take a swim in a bigger lake. If you are constantly surrounded by the same environment of people, you can easily become delusional that you are the best at what you do. It’s so hard to get challenged when you don’t step out of your regular environment. I grew up in Nicaragua in a very small music scene that wasn’t very inspiring. I came to believe I was an amazing guitarist and songwriter since there wasn’t much competition. However, when I moved to Los Angeles in 2017 and found myself at random Hollywood jam sessions I realized how wrong and delusional I had been all these years. These guys on stage were unreal and amazingly talented, they made me feel like a total loser. This new feeling and wake up call was exactly what I needed. Being exposed to a much higher level of excellence and musicianship forced me to raise my own bar and standards. I was undoubtedly challenged and decided to do something about it. I began to put in the work (nonstop practice) day and night and made friends with the musicians I now admired with the hopes of one day being at that level. Today you can probably find me at one of those fun LA jams. My point is, hang with bigger people and your mindset will expand.
Proverbs 13:20 ESV: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Our future is directly intertwined to those closest to us. In the words of Nipsey, “If you look at the people in your circle and don’t get inspired, you don’t have a circle you have a cage”. If you want to expand your capacity as a creative leader, you must first broaden your mindset and challenge yourself daily to rise to new levels of excellence, and begin to hang with people who will inspire you to aim higher. Increase and expansion always happen outside the comfort zone, usually through uncomfortable and challenging situations. Being a great leader is about embracing the challenge and trusting God through the process.
2. RAISE YOUR TEAM’S STANDARD ON EXCELLENCE
Excellence is the foundation of successful progress and growth. Excellence is not perfection. Excellence is giving YOUR best every single time. If that’s the case, it will be progressive and will be developed to a higher standard every week. You can be an excellent guitarist without being “the best” guitarist. I always find that excellence has little to do with present skill and more to do with determination and an urgency for personal growth in your gifting. I prefer to play with a drummer who maybe isn’t the best or has the fanciest chops but will always come prepared to church, knows all the drum parts to the songs on the set list, comes to rehearsal on time, and has a teachable attitude.
As a creative leader, you must cultivate a culture of excellence and set a bar that the team must strive to achieve weekly. When we don’t set a high standard of excellence, our team can become lazy as there is no challenge or goal to achieve and we become complacent with just doing the job good enough. We often give ourselves socially acceptable excuses for smallness which cause us to become mediocre in our ministry or work. Statements like: “our team is too small”, “We don’t have good equipment”, “I have no time for practice”, “We aren’t like the professionals”, will keep you small. Excellence is not just a suggestion, God actually calls us to do so. Psalm 33:3 NKJV: “Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully with a shout of joy.”. I love how this verse highlights the word “Skillfully” because it shows us that God delights when we give him our best. Challenge your team to navigate in new depths of excellence and watch the caliber of your team reach new heights.
3. DELEGATE & TRUST
Sometimes our capacity as creative leaders is limited and reaches a cap because we don’t delegate tasks to our team leaders and ultimately overwork ourselves in the process. This terrible defect in leadership is often fueled by insecurity. We refuse to give important roles to people because we are afraid of losing control and our team ends up discouraged and doesn’t grow. Myles Munroe said it this way, “Leadership is not about control, but service. It’s not about power, but empowerment. It’s not about manipulation, but inspiration.”
We often want to lead our team from the front but forget its also a balance of leading from the bottom as well. In God’s kingdom, the laws of our default nature are challenged and reversed. Jesus said that the greatest is not the one at the head of the table but the one who serves. Let’s not forget the main purpose of leadership is to serve those we lead. When you trust your team with specific tasks, you are empowering them to help create and build part of your team. The best way to grow your team and expand your weekly capacity as a creative leader is to spread your work by trusting other team leaders in your team to help you carry out the plans. Do this and watch your team's capacity expand.