Creative Leadership: Avoiding Fatal Mistakes

Leadership is hard. It’s a lonely role, you face crushing uncertainty with elevated stakes, and you’re expected to deliver not only on your own work, but also to corral the creative minds of others and parade them into the promised land. (Oh, and did I mention that it’s often thankless?)

Todd Henry, founder of Accidental Creative, a consultancy that helps organizations generate brilliant ideas, warns of the following traps that even the most experienced leaders fall into:


This means that you’re pushing important decisions into the future until you are more certain about the right direction. While this initially seems wise, it has a ripple effect through the organization as others wait for you to act so that they can determine their own course of action.


When things go awry and your team comes to you for answers, it’s easy to shoot arrows at the people above you. After all, if it’s really not your fault it’s a natural instinct, and it feels like a way to maintain the trust of your team.


Creative work is highly qualitative. It’s difficult sometimes to determine whether the product fits the original objectives, and it’s often a matter of opinion.  You have to make your expectations clear to the team, and you must be diligent in demanding they hit the metrics.


You’ve hired great people, yes? Then don’t smother them by constantly hovering over their work. It communicates a lack of trust, and it may ultimately lead to a dependence on your feedback, or worse to under-performance or under-thinking.

These are just a few of the (many) traps that creative leaders fall into. Leadership is about establishing the playing field, setting the rules, defining success, and unleashing your team to do what they’re wired to do. Avoid these common traps so that you don’t stand in the way of your team’s brilliance!

Read the full post here.

Read more from Todd here.

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Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company.

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I like it Mac and do agree with your opinions on the matter. Thanks much
— winston
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
— Russ Wright
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
— Ken

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