Organizations, and the world as a whole, are changing at an exponential rate. Leadership needs to be aware of this and take action by being part of the change.

In our consultancy work, we can see that people and performance can’t be separated. And more than ever, leaders need a framework to deal with the uncertainty and complex challenges. Traditional leadership theories have brought us this far. It is time to take a chance at a different perspective.

Co-creative leadership emphasizes the importance of the leader-follower relationship. It brings forward a new way of working together, to achieve success. It also moves the focus from the individuals to the common ground created between them. As professor Malcolm Parlett (1991) very well puts it: “when two people converse or engage with one another in some way, something comes into existence which is a product of neither of them exclusively. . . . There is a shared field, a common communicative home, which is mutually constructed”.

Developed by psychological researchers and practitioners, the concept of cocreativity is guided by the following principles:

  • Togetherness. The relationship between leader and follower is more potent than either one of them alone. It is this potency that makes transformational change possible.
  • Shared accountability. Both parties contribute and benefit from the cocreated experience. In other words, leader, as well as follower, are held accountable for the outcomes of their relationship.
  • “Here and now” development. Learning and development are to be expected when meaningful conversations take place. Cocreativity encourages dialogue, making space for mistakes and vulnerability.

When we look at the leader and the follower as individuals, we see abilities, ambitions, continuous self-development. If we manage to match them together, we look at a much bigger picture.

Here are some insights from our co-creative leaders so far:

  • Focus on the relationship
  • Create a space for making mistakes
  • Dare to be vulnerable and authentic
  • Build trust by involving all parties in the decision making process
  • Start any conversation with a constructive intention and attitude
  • Practice empathy daily

Powered by Design Thinking tools and methods, Co-creative Leadership brings a brand new framework for leaders to build a strong partnership with their teams and be the change the world needs.