The 5 Creative Competencies you Need to Succeed

In my last Insights post, I talked about one of the diagnostic tools we use when helping leaders to develop – The Leadership Circle. Here I go […]

In my last Insights post, I talked about one of the diagnostic tools we use when helping leaders to develop – The Leadership Circle. Here I go into more depth about what it can tell you about your leadership competencies and how you can develop them.

As the name suggests the report you receive is shown as a circle. It has 2 hemispheres – upper which shows your creative competencies and lower showing your reactive tendencies. Both have their plus points. In fact, the two hemispheres and their component parts can be seen as two sides of the same coin with the profile owner either reacting to problems or creating outcomes.

The extensive research behind the tool shows that leaders who score highly in the creative competencies (i.e. they are outcome creating) are the most effective leaders and therefore have the greatest impact on the success of their organisation.

What creative competencies do you need to maximise your leadership effectiveness and impact?


The relating dimension measures the leader’s capability to relate to others in a way that brings out the best in people, groups and organisations.

This dimension is made up of 5 sub scales- not surprisingly this is the largest of the creative competencies – after all leading is really all about the people who follow you. Let’s look at them in detail:

Caring connection measures the leader’s interest in and ability to form warm, caring relationships.

Fosters team play – a leader’s ability to foster high performance teamwork among team members who report to him, across the organisation and within teams in which he participates.

Collaborator – the extent to which the leader engages others in a manner that allows the parties involved to discover common ground.

Mentoring and Developing measures the leader’s ability to develop others through mentoring and maintaining growth-enhancing relationships.

Interpersonal Intelligence – the interpersonal effectiveness with which the leader listens, engages in conflict and controversy, deals with the feelings of others, and manages his/her own feelings.


This dimension explores the leader’s orientation to ongoing personal and professional development, as well as the degree to which self-awareness is expressed through high-integrity leadership.

Selfless Leader measures the extent to which the leader pursues service over self-interest, where the need for credit and personal ambition is far less important than creating results that serve a common good.

Balance measures the leader’s ability to keep a healthy balance between business and family, activity and reflection, work and leisurethe tendency to be self-renewing and handle the stress of life without losing the self.

Composure measures the leader’s ability, in the midst of conflict and high-tension situations to remain composed and centred and to maintain a calm, focused perspective.

Personal Learner measures the degree to which the leader demonstrates a strong and active interest in learning and personal and professional growth. It measures the extent to which she actively pursues growing in self-awareness, wisdom, knowledge and insight.


Authenticity is the leader’s capability to relate to others in an authentic, courageous and high integrity manner.

Integrity – how well the leader adheres to the set of values and principles that she espouses; this is how well she can be trusted to ‘walk the talk’.

Courageous Authenticity is about the leader’s willingness to take tough stands, bring up ‘undiscussables’ – risky issues the group avoids discussing, and openly deal with difficult relationship problems.

Systems awareness

Systems awareness focuses on the world in which the organisation operates, the wider system which is critical to the organisation’s success. It measures the degree to which the leader’s awareness is focused on whole system improvement, productivity, and community welfare.

Community concern is the service orientation from which the leader leads. It measures the extent to which she links her legacy to service of the community and global welfare.

Sustainable productivity is the leader’s ability to achieve results in a way that maintains or enhances the overall long-term effectiveness of the organisation. It measures how well she balances human/technical resources to sustain long term high performance.

Systems Thinker is the degree to which the leader thinks and acts from a whole system perspective as well as the extent to which she makes decisions in the light of the long-term health of the whole system.


This is all about how you get results. Made up of 4 sub scales, it measures the extent to which the leader offers visionary, authentic and high achievement leadership.

Strategic focus – the extent to which the leader thinks and plans rigorously and strategically to ensure that the organisation will thrive in the near and long-term.

Purposeful and visionary – the extent to which the leader clearly communicates and models commitment to personal purpose and vision.

Achieves results – the degree to which the leader is goal directed and has a track record of goal achievement and high performance.

Decisiveness this is about the leader’s ability to make decisions on time and the extent to which he is comfortable moving forward in uncertainty.

When I read through this list of competencies nothing surprises me. Of course these are what a leader needs to be/do to be effective and to lead the organisation, but doing this every day is hard. Sometimes our reactions get in the way but having these as a check list to reflect on daily can be helpful for any leader – new or experienced. In the next post we will examine the reactive tendencies which can derail us and how we can make small changes to become more effective.

Want to find out more about the Leadership Circle Profile? Click here.

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