Creative. Entrepreneurial. Optimistic.
Creativity, an entrepreneurial spirit and optimism might well be the key to unlocking the secrets to effective leadership.
Spillane and Orlina (2005) state that ‘leadership is not the actions of the leaders per se but the interactions between leaders and other agents’. The digital age is by nature collaborative, a word often linked to creative practice. With creative flare and an unwilling sense of optimism about what we can achieve together, successful CEO’s build communities set on solving some of our toughest problems.
Take Alischa Ross, CEO of Youth Empowerment Against HIV/AIDS (YEAH). The organisations social campaign Red Aware has over 5,500 followers, most of whom are young people set on advocating safe sex and eradicating HIV. Much of YEAH’s work is about empowerment, engagement and ‘edu-tainment’. As Alischa innovates, “Sometimes you’ve got to do things differently to make people stop what they’re doing and really take notice!”
Moos (2010) argues effective leaders need to be ‘pointing out the difference between what is and what should be’ but notes it is not necessarily the role of these leaders to minimise the difference.
Jack Manning Bancroft is the CEO and Founder of AIME. At 19, whilst completing his studies, Jack started the AIME program with 25 Indigenous kids in Redfern. Currently AIME works with over 3,500 Indigenous high school students and 1,250 university student acting as mentors across Australia. The aim is to ensure Indigenous kids have the opportunity to finish school at the same rate as every Australian child. Jack is one of Australia’s youngest CEOs leading a team of nearly 100 staff across the country. In 2013, AIME was voted 26th in BRW’s Best Places to Work. And there is no doubt why!
Wheatley and Frieze (2010) advocate for ‘leaders as hosts’ rather than ‘hero’s’, inferring, ‘You’re playing the hero if you believe that you can save the situation, the person, the world.’
“Leaders as hosts trust that people are willing to contribute, and that most people yearn to find meaning and possibility in their lives and work. … These leaders know that hosting others is the only way to get complex, intractable problems solved.”
Alischa Ross and Jack Manning Bancroft are both the hero and the host. They are CEO’s who aim to solve the big problems, and who do so with creativity and tireless passion. They are the ones who took a risk and went on to create a worthy organisation our of nothing but sheer optimism and an entrepreneurial spirit.
Moos, L. (2010) ‘From successful school leadership towards distributed leadership’ Preedy, Bennett and Wise (2012) Educational Leadership: Context, Strategy and Collaboration, The Open University, UK
Spillane , J.P and Orlina, E.C. (2005), Investigating leadership practice: exploring the entitlements of taking a distributed perspective, Paper presented at the AERA Annual Meeting, Montreal
Wheatley, Margaret with Frieze, Debbie (2010) Leadership in the Age of Complexity: From Hero to Host.Published in Resurgence Magazine, Winter 2011