Creative Leadership

Making a change in organizations through creativity

Thinkers Co Blog Creative Leadership

The different types of leader

Have you ever had an unbearable and arrogant boss? Even though this used to be very common, the way we work and the roles inside organizations are changing. If you don’t want to become one of them, we have something to tell you.

First of all, we may identify the difference between the terms of boss and leader. A good boss may be a leader but a leader doesn’t need to necessarily be the boss. How is it possible? The boss’ role is to order what to do, where, when and how, without the need of explain why. Instead, the leader has the ability to encourage the team to achieve a common goal without “establishing” rules.

The leader’s role is to have the ability to influence the way the team members act, making them work enthusiastically to achieve their common goals.

Even though every leader has this ability, they are not equal, they are not robots. Each one will follow the methodology that fits the best with his characteristics. There are different profiles:

  • Autocratic Leader: he focuses on achieving the goal.
  • Inspirational Leader: his priority is to guide the team to achieve the goal, as mummy duck does with her ducklings.
  • Relational Leader: his speciality is to build emotional bonds between the members. This will improve the working environment and colleague’s relationships.
  • Democratic Leader: he fosters every team member consensus and participation, it could be named “Gandhi leader”
  • Motivational Leader: he acts as he wants others to do, he is the team’s inspiration.
  • Transformational Leader: he teaches and develops team knowledge, he shares everything he knows.

And, last but not least, there’s our favourite leader, the Creative Leader, he owns all the previous characteristics and comes up with new innovative improvements. The creative leader goal is to push the company to the next level.

Creative Leadership Figures

Among Creative Leadership, we can identify three key profiles:

  1. The Explorer: Despite his lack of map and compass, he opens unknowledge ways to discover the hidden secrets of innovation.
  2. The gardener: Has a different working style, he is in love with his “little flowers” and wants to create the perfect greenhouse for them. He didn’t plant the seed of innovation in each team member but helps them to grow and bloom.
  3. The Coach: Probably you have already heard about him. Perseverance is his biggest strength, he gathers enough energy to motivate and push to success.

If you can’t identify your profile and your goal is to be a great leader, we advise you to make The Basadur Test (1).

Identify your strengths to know how to encourage your team.

Despite their differences between the explorer, gardener and coach, they share skills like creativity and imagination. These are the magic ingredients of the success potion, but pay attention, measure and analyse their impact to readjust their effectiveness. It is important to identify the balance between knowledge, imagination and results because their variables of an equation so if one is void, the result of creativity would be null.


The different creative profiles

Once you have identified your profile, analyze it thoroughly. Have you ever think about the way you get information? It is indeed hard to believe that there are only two ways to do it:

  • People who buy a computer and play with it until they discover how to use it, meaning they learn from experience.
  • People who will read the instructions and learn from knowledge.

This computer experiment will tell you the way you create new ideas: do you create new ideas and check if they work? Or do you resort to ideas you already have and adapt them to the new situation?
According to your answer, you’ll be:

  • Generator: you take the plunge and suddenly create a thousand ideas.
  • Conceptualizer: you resort to old ideas, analyse and adapt them to the new situation.
  • Optimizer: you can create ideas from abstract concepts until you make the perfect one.
  • Implementer: you prefer the trial and error method than waste your time thinking.

As you can see, each leader is completely different from the others, so they can have working confrontations. This is very usual in every teamwork, many times we realize about the people with who we don’t match. Even if we have great personal relationships, we can have different working styles. The same applies to leaders, the optimizer profile will crash with the generator because at the time he looks for the perfect idea, the generator keeps giving new ones. On the other hand, conceptualizer could have a conflict with the implementer, when the first leader develops new ideas, the second one aspires to test and sell them.

Nevertheless, this is a good fact. If you identify your profile, you will know your limits and who can help you. Likewise, if we know our team characteristics, we will know how to interact with them and overcome any obstacle.


As you can see, this is not a smooth process. In addition to colleagues conflicts, we will deal with some limitations. These limitations, can be good, as time or resources which help us to schedule our actions, or bad, as members attitude or lack of knowledge about our methodologies.

As a leader, you may take charge of solving these situations. One more time, the way you do it will identify your profile:

  • Do you inspire your team? Do you encourage them to find innovative solutions? If you do, your profile is inspiring.
  • Can you connect the different profiles in your team? You are an inclusive leader.
  • If there’s a problem, do you take into account different points of view and encourage others to do it? You are an imaginative leader.
  • Farsighted leader is yours if you predict problems and stay ahead of them.
  • Finally, the improviser leader generates new ideas for each new problem.

As you have seen, there are many profiles, which makes unique each team you lead. Knowing their different attributes and existing methodologies (such as Creative Problem Solving, Design Thinking or Lean Startup) will support you in the development of innovation projects and inspire your colleagues through your example, passion for creativity and skills

(1) Basadur Test

Updated at 02/12/2020

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