The Creative Leader

I’m a writer, a teacher, a musician and a single dad. I’ve never really thought of myself as a leader, but more a teller of stories, a speaker of lessons, a spinner of songs and a maker of rules.

Although I’ve not considered myself a leader, I have considered the subtle influences creative individuals can have on others and the world around us. It might break the mold of traditional leadership, but the creative leader can bring lasting change.

Mixed Media Painting (Detail) by Choichun Leung / Dumbo Arts Cen

Image by See-Ming Lee

The Writer:  Throughout history, great writers have shown that the pen, is indeed, mightier than the sword. From the early canons of the Bible to the four Gospels, writers helped to shape the very heart of Christianity.

Classic books such as To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck; The Jungle by Upton Sinclair; and Silent Spring by Rachel Carson have all helped to create longstanding social change in our nation.

The Teacher:  What would Aristotle have learned without Plato? What would Plato have learned without Socrates? What would the disciples have learned without Christ? Throughout history there have been millions of great teachers that wield mighty influence on young minds.

Often, these teachers blend into the background, at times overlooked or forgotten. They don’t seek attention or reward. They don’t stand out as leaders. But without great teachers, there would be no great leaders.

The Musician:  As a graduate student, I studied the protest music of Woody Guthrie. Woody was a rambling man and a poor role model as a husband and father, to be sure, but his music led people to stand up for the rights of the common man. Woody’s music, in turn influenced another generation of musicians such as Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen.

Bob Marley led enemies to shake hands for peace. John Lennon led thousands in a march for peace. Although we might not think of musicians as leaders, their songs often maintain powerful influence for years and even generations into the future.

The Father:  As a dad, I have to make rules for my daughter. That’s the easy part. The hard part is developing creative strategies to enforce those rules while maintaining a positive and loving relationship with her. I’ve discovered that ruling with an iron fist rarely works and I seek out subtle ways to gain compliance.

Our heavenly Father does not rule with an iron fist, either. He is slow to anger and mysterious in His ways to bring about change in our lives and the world around us. Just as He is creative, so are we. When we tap into our creativity as leaders, we can accomplish great things and cater in everlasting change.

Questions: What have you created to help lead others? Can you provide more examples of great writers, teachers, and musicians that played the role of leader? How can you be a better leader as a father? Is there a particular circumstance you can recall that taught you something about what you’re to be doing in life? Let us know in the comments!

This was a guest post by Dan Erickson. Dan is a writer, blogger, teacher, and musician.  He was the child victim of a religious cult and struggled through his twenties, but came to forgive his greatest enemies.  His first book, A Train Called Forgiveness, chronicles his own story in a captivating fictional format.  Dan blogs about writing, music, and life, and emphasizes the importance of forgiveness in our lives.  You can follow Dan’s blog @  Follow him on Twitter @ and Facebook @

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