Creative Leadership and the Power of Visual Strategy

David Nour
David Nour

Effective leadership is a balancing act between prioritizing resources and identifying challenges that must be addressed in a timely manner. It is a constant juggle that requires leaders to make crucial decisions without sacrificing performance and results. Choosing the right leadership approach is, therefore, integral to success. 

Contrary to popular opinion, leadership is a skill that you are not bestowed with upon birth. Instead, it is a set of skills and characteristics that you adopt and develop over time. Visual and creative leadership is a good example of this. While there are natural-born leaders, it’s the strategy that you adapt in the way you lead that could spell the difference between success and failure of an organization.

Discover the qualities that make visual leaders excel in a way that no other leadership styles can.  

Creative Leadership 101: What Are Visual Leaders?

Creative leadership is a new approach to leading a team or organization. It is defined by the use of visioning and strategic planning in an effort to map out the steps towards your goal. The visual-planning system taps into the power of visual thinking as part of strategic development and propelling change within the organization.

The use of strategic visioning techniques generate clear and concise plans of actions. That way, your team knows exactly the steps needed in order to get from now to your desired outcome. All of the steps support the action needed to be done to achieve your goals.

For example, you employ the use of large visual displays where your team members can see the concrete steps that must be taken. You can also use panoramic presentations and visual aids to depict the organizational flow. It also allows every member of your team to be in alignment with each other throughout the specific processes that needed to be taken. 

This is an essential component to success with strategic development through visual and creative leadership. Thus, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and have a concrete idea of what they need to do in every step of the process. 

The use of vision boards and action plans will help you generate organization-wide strategic direction. This is not just limited within your organization, though, when you are conducting meetings and collaborations. You can also use visual strategic boards when conducting dialog with stakeholders and business partners. 

creative leadership using visual board


Benefits of Creative Leadership and Visual Strategy

The use of visual leadership is a new model that can impact how the entire organization works. Therefore, there will be some level of hesitation for some organizations to adopt this approach as it might cause disruption.

Adopting this model, however, will bring about a wide range of benefits for your organization moving forward. Discover the ways that having a visual leader can benefit your organization, as well as the members of the team:

Visual representation is vital to effective group communication

The use of visual tools and graphic facilitation for organizing information is no longer unique to computer engineers. Other industries and thought leaders are realizing its significance in communicating within the members of your team.

The use of graphics is now a standard in group meetings, conferences, and workshops. It acts as a visual thinking tool that conveys key information that participants need to know. By visually representing ideas, it is easy to digest the information being presented. It makes it easier to get every member of the team on the same page and to inspire insights from participants. 

When applied in the concept of leadership, it translates to a greater understanding of a leader’s thought processes. The members of your organization can visually see the ideas of a leader transform before their eyes. This is how visual leaders transform how dialog with the team is being conducted. 


Upgrade the way your team members think

The use of visual and creative leadership is not just beneficial for the leader in terms of conveying information. It is also beneficial to the members of your team. 

For example, by seeing the visual representation of a leader’s idea, it promotes your team members’ cognitive and comprehension skills. The practice of thinking visually promotes enhanced mental and cognitive capacity as they process the visual information.

In the long run, it will help your team members better analyze display and visual formats to process information. In a way, you are molding the members of your organization to become visual leaders, too!


It fosters innovation within the organization

As mentioned above, there is a risk of causing disruption to your organizational culture by adapting the visual approach to leadership. But in order to experience the benefits of creative leadership, you must be willing to make this change. 

Innovation, as with any kinds of change, is difficult at first. But by inculcating the mindset of innovation within your organization, you inspire members of your team to become visionaries – to think outside the box. The most effective leaders are the ones that can inspire the members of their team to become a better version of themselves. This strategy is just one way to achieve that. 

visual and creative leadership


How to Become a Visual Leader

Now that you understand how visual and creative leadership is beneficial for your organization, how do you become one? As mentioned earlier, leadership is a set of skills that you can master and these are what you need to become a visual leader:

  • Visual sparks imagination and thinking. Use graphic and other visual thinking tools when you communicate and collaborate.

  • Use visuals for personal note-taking. This will make it easier for you to remember your ideas when inspiration comes to you without notice.

  • Pay attention to mental models and metaphors. Analogous thinking is also highly linked to visual thinking.

  • Tell a story visually. Use graphic templates, story map posters, and any technology that provides visualization. 

  • Make visualization a standard in all forms of communication and thinking in your organization. 

Design thinking might be trendy right now but it is an indicator of something important for leaders and organizations to take note: the visual approach to leadership is increasing in demand. New technologies are being developed all the time which makes it easier for creative leadership to flourish. If you are not using the power of visual strategy within your organization yet, it might be time to dip your toes in it and see the transformation from within.

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