What is Creative Leadership?

No business, team, or organization can thrive without effective leadership — and to maximize their efficacy, leaders must think, act, and problem-solve creatively. As we will explore in this article, leaders who are able to successfully innovate and “think outside the box” often reap career and financial benefits, while simultaneously fostering personal growth in their employees, their associates, and themselves. The need for creative leadership has become clear during the COVID-19 crisis, which calls for new and unprecedented solutions to new and unprecedented challenges. For example, business owners may need to adapt to leading their teams virtually, or implement new models and practices for doing business online. 

No matter what sorts of challenges you or your industry may be facing, creative leadership can help you and your business overcome economic adversity. By approaching challenges as learning opportunities, embracing instead of resisting positive change, encouraging a culture of collaboration, and fostering a climate that promotes innovation, creative leaders can bring their companies, colleagues, and careers forward into a more productive future. 

Discover more about what creative leadership is, why it matters in business, and what types of careers you can pursue with a master’s degree in this area of study. If you think a creative leadership master’s degree could be right for you, we encourage you to speak with an admissions counselor about National University’s exciting new creative leadership MBA program, which is now accepting applications. In the meantime, this short guide can help you determine whether an MBA in creative leadership might be able to help you achieve your professional goals. 

What Does “Creative Leadership” Mean, and What is the Importance of Creativity in Leadership? 

Creative leadership involves a diverse range of skills and techniques. To see a few examples, explore our article on how to be a creative leader, or scroll down to the section on what students learn in a creative leadership degree program. For now, we’ll begin with the general definition of “creative leadership,” which has two key elements:  

  1. Supplying the appropriate conditions and resources for employees to flourish, innovate, and become more productive.
  2. Finding new and improved approaches to old organizational challenges, such as poor communication or lack of clear direction, which impede business growth.

A creative leader has a clear and cohesive vision for growth, yet remains flexible and responsive to shifting consumer demands, anticipating and adapting to trends in order to ensure continued relevancy. He or she must possess the confidence to act boldly and unconventionally, but also understand how to collaborate, build relationships, and empathize with others. 

There are many reasons why creative leadership is beneficial from a business development perspective, from increasing productivity to gaining a competitive advantage. Most importantly, business leaders will need creativity in order to succeed within “a highly volatile, increasingly complex business environment,” according to the IBM 2010 Global CEO Study. In the study, which surveyed over 1,500 chief executive officers from around the world, creativity emerged as the number one “most crucial factor for future success,” deemed more essential than “rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision” when overcoming business challenges. 

For individuals who are interested in starting their own companies, becoming corporate executives, or pursuing other careers in business, creative leadership skills are worth cultivating — especially since they can help open lucrative professional pathways. Continue reading to learn about some of the marketable skills that students learn in creative leadership programs, along with some potential careers those skills could help unlock. 

What Do Students Learn in a Creative Leadership Course or Degree Program?

Creative leadership skills have a broad range of professional applications across a diverse array of industries, ranging from healthcare and finance to technology and marketing. Students who enroll in the creative leadership degree program at National University learn valuable and transferable skills which prepare them for a range of leadership roles, scenarios, and challenges, including: 

  • Analyzing the strengths and liabilities of different leadership profiles, including strengths and weaknesses in your own personal leadership style
  • Cultivating diverse and inclusive workplaces
  • Developing robust negotiation and conflict resolution skills  
  • Identifying key organizational challenges and efficiently implementing solutions

Our program places a strong emphasis on teaching problem-solving skills, communication skills, and supervisory skills, providing a robust foundation that students can build their leadership skills upon. Students also learn how to analyze various theories and styles of leadership, such as Leader-Member Exchange Theory and Path-Goal Theory. 

What Jobs Can You Get with a Master’s in Creative Leadership? 

In the process of earning your creative business leadership degree, you’ll cultivate a versatile skill set that will help to prepare you for dozens of careers, depending on your interests. Here are just a few examples of jobs you can get with a master’s degree in creative leadership: 

  • Corporate Executive — Pilot your business toward success in an executive leadership role, such as CEO or Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Top-level executives, who earn a median salary exceeding $104,000 per year, are responsible for implementing strategies that will help business entities reach or exceed their financial goals. If your dream career is to become a CEO, CFO, COO, or to fulfill a similar corporate role, you may wish to explore our Master of Business Administration (MBA) or Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) programs, in addition to our creative leadership program. 
  • Health Services Manager — As a health services manager, or healthcare administrator, your role is to “plan, direct, and coordinate medical and health services,” which may extend to “an entire facility, a specific clinical area or department, or a medical practice,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The median pay for a health services manager is currently over $98,000 — and, perhaps even more promisingly, this occupation has a projected growth rate of 20 percent, substantially higher than average. To learn more about this rewarding career path where healthcare and leadership intersect, ask our admissions office about our Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) or Master of Public Health (MPH). 
  • School Principal — Use your creative leadership skills to become an effective school administrator, such as an elementary, middle, or high school principal. According to the BLS, K-12 principals earned a median pay of over $96,000 in 2019, with a “fast as average” 4 percent growth outlook. In addition to our creative leadership MBA, we also offer a variety of educational leadership programs, such as our Master of Science in Education Administration or Master of Science in Higher Education Administration

By preparing you for a variety of creative business leadership careers, a master’s degree can also increase your earning potential. According to the BLS, workers who hold master’s degrees earn up to $12,000 more per year than workers who hold bachelor’s degrees. While some master’s degrees translate to higher earning potential than others, one of the most worthwhile degrees to invest in is often an MBA, with U.S. MBA graduates earning average salaries of nearly $135,000 according to U.S. News & World Report

Apply to the Creative Leadership MBA Program at National University and Earn Your Master’s Degree 

National University is pleased to offer a new MBA in creative leadership, which prepares students to build stronger teams, solve organizational problems, and drive innovation. In our creative leadership MBA program, you’ll learn how to inspire and motivate others, acquiring the skills you need to excel in an executive or managerial role.

Become the leader you were always meant to be. Start by applying to our creative leadership MBA, our MSOL program, or our other accredited leadership degree programs. To request information or learn more about our admission and enrollment policies, contact the National University admissions office today. 

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