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Every Child is a Potential Creative Leader: Let's Build Them Up!

A creative leader displays ingenuity in problem solving, critical thinking and dynamism in action. Of these three hallmarks, I would rate ingenuity a little above the two, because there-in lies the glory of being born as a human being! Ingenuity is a signature of the intellect being transcended into unchartered territories of our psyche - a trait found only in the human species of any of the living organisms, through the faculty of intuition. We have seen many leaders who have led well with logic and dynamism. The world needs not just leaders but creative leaders.

Children are born to be creative leaders. Every thought, word and action of theirs portends creative ripeness and entrepreneurial spirit. Whether it is writing on the wall, sticking to the fridge a paper full of colorful pencil strokes, listening to a piece of music again and again or reading that chapter book like there is no tomorrow or constantly playing with a ball, these are signs of pure expression of their intuitive ideas, which parents must pay close attention to. They must constantly and keenly intuit on their kids from an early age, to hone down the skills/talents/interests that could later be mapped into the Creative Leadership Venn Diagram.

The crayon marks made by the child on the walls sure don't look presentable for the impending weekend party. The parents' may view it as an unsightly mess that obviously won't "please people." And quite naturally, the children find themselves at the receiving end of parents' ire, that they soon dissipate their enthusiasm of pure expression of ideas. The education-industrial complex further ensures that any embers of creativity is sooner or later extinguished completely. These can have disastrous effects on the psychological development of children, which live with them for life - because in trying to follow a "please people" methodology (reinforced unfortunately at home), a big portion of their creative psyche remains invalidated forever.

I came to know about two people recently - who could be great creative leaders. One is a graduate from two Ivy league schools, but will not take to public speaking. Because as a child, she received critical feedback after her piano recitals year after year, which made her decide that it is better not to venture into expressing her talents and ideas, for their would only be critical, destructive feedback.

Another person, who has been mentoring interns at a world renowned space exploration institution and placing them well and also a symphony player of woodwind instruments, finds himself unable to use these talents of his to inspire a generation of kids, because he was told to focus on computer science only when he was growing up.

Children express themselves for the happiness in feeling self-validated. They need a warm hug, an appreciative pat and a few sentences of praise and encouragement. It is our responsibility to identify, develop, hone and sustain their leadership skills, which begins with a particular activity that they engage, in an infinite loop in their childhood. A leader is known by the way he/she owns success. But a creative leader leads by owning challenges and failures creatively. Creative leaders pay it forward by accepting the expression of others' ideas and gently nudging to develop many more creative leaders!

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