Member Spotlight: Why Creative Leadership is Essential

An interview with Dee Ladva, FL Premium Member. Meet Dee here

The Women In Leadership Series is an interview-style blog series on the Forward Ladies blog that highlights the leadership styles of our FL premium members. In this series, you will get to know our members better and gain insight into their success in career leadership.

Dee Ladva

Current Role: Educationalist

Location: United Kingdom

Hey Dee! We are so excited to have you featured on our leadership series! Can you tell our community a little background about you and how you got into your current role/how you started your business?

Absolutely, my background started in the performing arts. I completed a degree in dance and theatre. Following that, I completed a post-grad degree in healing in drama. 

One of the key questions I’m asked in interviews is how dance and theatre align with my role. It really does have a huge impact.

12 years ago I went into education and training and the creativity that you have on a stage, you must have to successfully deliver and engage in leadership 

For the last 7 years I’ve had my own business delivering training to communities and raising awareness around education and social issues. I’m also delivering online workshops for adapting to change.

Why does creativity play such a huge role in your career?

Change is constant.

In leadership roles, we need the ability to engage and understand our team to get results. Many individuals feel “stuck” in the workplace. I’ve seen that creativity brings people out of their shell and allows them to think bigger. Often, our teams’ collaborative ideas are much better than our own. So as a leader, giving people the option to express themselves shows that we care. 

How would you describe your leadership style?

I’m a leader from many perspectives. Whether that is managing staff, or leading a group of people in a qualification. One of the key values for me is to inspire the people I’m working with. I am a collaborative leader. 

I also am an empathetic leader, therefore I focus on the greater need of the individual. I believe creating passionate people will create success. 

What does your day-to-day look like as a creative leader?

Whenever I start new projects or work with a new group of people, I’ll first complete an analysis. I would then create a ‘roundtable’ with everyone within the business, from the ops team to supervisors. I believe roundtable talks are crucial to initiate the relationship and build rapport.

I also believe it’s important to allow people to be silly and have fun. I will often get people into a room at the start of the working day and do a light-hearted, non work-related game. This will allow leaders to have a better understanding of their team and build an authentic relationship.

When you’re working 8-9 hour shifts, it’s important to have ways to break up the day. One of my favourite activities to start the morning with is chair aerobics. At 8 am we’ll put on a Mr Motivator video and have some fun!

If as leaders, we don’t create this space, then employee’s don’t have the room to be creative.

What advice would you give for leaders who may feel uncomfortable with the creative approach? 

The best advice I could give to leaders who may feel slightly vulnerable in this situation is to lean on others in your team for support. Reaching out to your team shows strong creative leadership as you’re welcoming new ideas. 

Building relationships with your team and being “fun” does not have to mean screaming and shouting. It can be the smallest things such as taking an interest in their hobbies or out of work activities. 

What do you feel is missing in creative leadership today?

I believe there are many different types of creative leadership. For example, problem solving and critical thinking are forms of creative leadership.

You do not have to be creative, but the way you approach creativity in leadership is important. Creativity is ingrained in everything we do because it symbolises uniqueness. I would argue that everybody has an element of creativity in what they do. 

How can leaders infuse more creativity into their role?

Definitely get yourself on training and development courses. This is a great starting place to collaborate and share ideas with other leaders. Also community such as Forward Ladies where you can learn from others. 

Thank you for sharing so much insight in creativity leadership Dee! Can you please share what are you currently working on, and where people can connect with you?

I’m due to start my Masters in Education, specialising in Inclusive Practice Within Education. I’m currently researching how young people form their identities based on their experiences in school.

I would be incredibly interested in speaking with anybody who is currently in the field of educational psychology, diversity and equality work. 

You can find me within the FL network here