The 8 Faces of Exceptionally Creative Leaders

If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that my core belief is that the old model of leadership is dead and now, anyone in any organization on any part of the planet can show leadership. I’ve seen taxi drivers who display rare-air leadership along with school teachers + breakfast servers + construction workers. Work is changing. And we all can provoke impact and influence if we Lead Without a Title. But here’s the point of this piece: not only do each of us have the potential to be leaders – we each have the potential to be creative. Massively.

Who sold us on the lie that only artists and poets and musicians are Creatives? When we were kids, we all expressed our Inner Rembrandt as effortlessly as we would breathe. We colored outside of the lines, ideated at the slightest chances and were essentially idea factories on two short legs. But then, as we aged, we stifled our creativity as the mortgages, deadlines and the stuff of life took over our days. Sad.

You and I do no favor to the world in withholding our creativity. So, in my sincere effort to help you work + play at your best, I invite you to consider The 8 Faces of the most creative people I’ve observed. These are the qualities that the brightest of the best have. And you can develop them too. Here we go:

The 8 Faces of Exceptionally Creative Leaders

MadonnaThe Madonna

The Face of Madonna will serve to remind you that nearly every great Creative was a perfectionist. Yes, I know perfectionism may not be the most healthy attribute in the world. But facts are facts and when I study the superstars of creativity, the fact is almost every one of them stood for nothing less than ideal work.

A while ago I watched Madonna’s documentary “I’m Going to Tell You a Secret”, which deeply inspired me.

At every touch point, Madonna sweat the small stuff and demanded that every element of every performance was perfect.

Why work on a project if not to get it as close to perfect as possible?

PicassoThe Picasso

The face of Picasso will reinforce the notion of devotion.

Great creatives don’t do what they do just for the applause and accolades. They do it because they love it.

Picasso used to leave beautiful dinners with his friends to return to his studio to advance his craft.

His art was his passion.

And like every fantastically creative person, he worked with utter devotion.

ThoreauThe Thoreau

The face of Henry David Thoreau will remind you of the need to create space for your creative talent to flow.

We live in a world where too many people have too little time away from the noise of ringing smart phones, constant email and the dumbing hum of the television.

One of my all-time favorite books is “Walden” by Thoreau. He wrote it over a period living by a pond, away from the world. Living in quiet solitude with nature as his daily companion.

We don’t get our best ideas at work. We get them on beaches or in bathtubs.

Create spaces for your your inner artist to present itself.

HemingwayThe Hemingway

The face of Ernest Hemingway will reinforce the idea that hugely creative people are extremely disciplined.

It’s pure myth that the best artists achieved what they did without structure and organization.

Hemingway, the famed author, wrote at the same time every day – whether he felt inspired or de-inspired.

Yes, spark a steady flow of great ideas.

But great ideas that are not executed upon and converted into real results are a waste of time. The world is littered with geniuses who did zero with their big ideas.

BransonThe Branson

Richard Branson’s face will remind you to have fun.

Creativity often occurs in the heat of play.

Branson’s a billionaire. But he really seems to have fun at all he does.

Look – no, hunt – for ways to make whatever it is you do fun.

That will open up that part of your brain that drives your best ideas.

EdisonThe Edison

The face of Edison will remind you that creative mastery is a numbers game.

Yes, we all know the cliche that Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he got the light bulb right. But the story’s worth remembering.

Study any genius – in the arts or in business, and you’ll discover the same thing: they succeeded because they outfailed everyone around them.

Come up with a thousand ideas and one’s bound to be brilliant.

StarckThe Starck

Philippe Starck is awesome. And part of his awesomeness stems from his love of minimalism.

Here’s where I’m going with this one: genius resides in simplicity.

The best inventions were the simplest inventions.

Further, de-clutter your workspace + your home + your mind.

Breathtakingly beautiful ideas can’t flow when your energy’s being taken up by the messes around you.

FordThe Ford

Ok. Last one. The face of Henry Ford will remind you to trust yourself.

I’ve made my biggest mistakes when I’ve listened to the chattering voices around me vs. trusted my own instincts.

Self-belief is a powerful leadership quality.

Nearly everyone laughed at Ford’s concept for a car. His reply: “If I’d listened to the people around me, I would have built a faster horse carriage.”


Robin Sharma

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59 Responses to “The 8 Faces of Exceptionally Creative Leaders”

  1. Rose Osman says:

    “If I’d listened to the people around me, I would have built a faster horse carriage.” – Henry Ford

    This quote touches my heart. It give me strength and believe I was doing the right thing to ignore people’s critics.
    Thank you Robin for the sharing your view on these 8 leadership people. It’s truly inspired!

    Warmest Regards,
    Rose Osman.
    Founder of

  2. ananthnag says:

    Can anyone got all the above faces with the same inner creativity?

  3. Mahesh Srinivasan says:

    Hi Robin, I have been keep reading your books at lease once in a week. Your ideas and thoughts keep me motivated at work, personal and family.

  4. Truly inspiring, but I’d consider steve jobs also in the list for his creative leadership qualities & ideas.

  5. sourav says:

    Really a great new year full packed starter.I believe its gonna give me a boost to achieve perfection.

  6. Hi Robin,

    I must share with you that I changed my habit from waking up lazy in the mornings to waking up early, doing yoga and meditation followed by a morning walk and it is doing wonders to my self.

    Thanks for your very inspiring and my most favourite book”A Leader who had no title”

  7. robin says:

    great comments everyone. yes, Nashmal, Steve Jobs could have been on the list too. But sometimes i think using him+Apple is too obvious. warm regards to you all and keep the comments coming. Robin

  8. Hi Robin,
    What a fantastic and creative post! I truly enjoy “out of the box” applications of leadership. You managed to take tired and true leadership attributes and applied them to diverse and interesting people. It serves as a great reminder that leadership can be expressed in a variety of ways. Great post!

  9. Sukhi Muker says:

    These peeps are the perfect blend of right and left brain activity. That’s why we all know who they are and if every mortal would nurture their whole mind we would ALL know each other.

    Love it!

  10. robin says:

    thanks Mackenzie.

  11. Aashisha says:

    The above list of 8 gives me positive vibes and makes me want to be my best. The idea of Leading without a Title is the most practical idea I’ve come across. Its important to give the most important things importance i.e. trying to be better than what one was yesterday instead of getting busy with comparisons. The fact that extraordinariness can exist in the most ordinary of people is simply awesome. Thank you!

  12. ANSHUL GUPTA says:

    This is an amazing post!

    This is a data driven world… where, if something is a fact, then there should be data (hard!) behind that fact to make it a fact in fact!

    And there are measures to measure these facts…

    Like all other valuable human activities, Creativity is also constrained by these measures…which tend to judge the gravity if the fact behind a creative idea.

    So to say…if someone is more creative, then we simply mean that, according to our parameters of measurement, this person fulfills more facts’ requirements for being creative…And nothing else.

    But what about those, whose creativity fall outside the radius of these, parameters of measuring creativity of humankind?

    Remember…Many scientists, innovator, and businesspeople have been considered lunatics, before this world understood their creativity…These people redefined the parameters of being creative…

    Creativity is within us…since the day we came into this world…



  13. Parin says:

    “Who sold us on the lie that only artists and poets and musicians are Creatives?”

    Love that! It’s sooo trueee!! Every single one of us is a creative.

    And I love the points on Ford & Edison:

    1) Belief in Yourself
    2) Don’t be afraid of failure

    The timing of this post fits perfectly as I finish up reading Think & Grow Rich! ;)

    As always, thanks a million Robin!! :) :)


  14. Jose Abraham Baez Gil says:

    Robin, its was a pleasure meeting you in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic a couple years ago, I read “Guide to greatness” I congratulate you! Awsome book! Recently finished reading “A monk that sold his ferrary” This book was even better! I plan to read “Who will cry when you die”. I love your books, they are very powerful, and they have made me very powerful too! I want to congratulate and thank you for your work.

    Jose Abraham Baez Gil
    Baez Group.

  15. Hi Robin,

    This was one of the best articles I have read this week. You have an amazing ability to draw out the best and the most significant, and present it in the simplest possible way.

    I thank my son, Hardik, who introduced me to your exceptionally great works.

    Best wishes for another great year ahead,

  16. thabang says:

    Edison ‘…outfailed eveyone around him.’ Love it!

    You too are the face of a creative leader

    Love this Robin’s blog

  17. T.sravan says:

    the life is boring and seems to be normal. before reading the articles and books written by you& i feel now every day has its specality a new 24 hours is waiting for me and rituals in the book the monk who sold his ferrari are really working they changed my physic and mental strength drastically.iam nowing enjoying my life
    Thanks for robin who is responsiable for chaning life of so many people who dont know the destiny to reach,and what is really important in life,beside material wealth iam also one among them .
    Your fan

  18. Ileana says:

    I really agree with your ideea : about “The 8 Faces of Exceptionally Creative Leaders”:
    “Trusting in himself/herself
    Being creative
    Looking for simplicity in his/her ideeas
    Being perfectionist
    Doing all in devotion
    Creating always his/her space for his inner artist to present himslf
    Being extremely disciplined

    Never loosing his/her of humour”

    But with your permision I would like to add few other features wich I consider that
    a succesful leader should have:

    Always being optimistic and truly belive in life and in his/her ideas
    Looking always at the bright side!!!!
    Living and leading his/her life and work with passion

    And the most important for me is :
    All what we do should be done in love and with love for ourselves and for people for our own good and for the good of people and of the world!!!!

    I wish to you and to all people who read these words: A very happy and prosperous New Year, filled with health and love

    With all my cosideration,
    Ileana, Romania

  19. S. Kalyanasundaram says:

    Dear Robin,

    I am impressed with Edison’s words.

    I feel great, every time I am reading your books or listening the audio and watching the video clippings.

    As you have mentioned in your books, I am implementing some of the great leadership qualities in my day to day Biz Life.

    You are my mentor.

    Thanks and Regards


  20. […] encourage to read this excellent post on creative leadership from Robin Sharma, author of the bestselling book, “The Leader Who Had No Title.” […]

  21. Mallee says:

    Robin, I get my daily dosage of motivation by hearing you, reading you everyday atleast for 15 mins. I hold great belief in morning holy hour. I can see myself getting biased to actions from a sedentary mental state. Your ideas, guidance are all simply practical and makes me readily accept them without reservation. I keep sharing all these with my acquaintances and see them also falling into our “LWT” community. This blog is another reflecting mirror! Thanks for triggering a turning point in my life through your monk who sold his ferrari…


  22. Shailendra Rawat says:

    Robin, your books are very inspiring.

  23. Alex Pillay says:

    Hi Robin,

    Thank you for yet another inspiring blog!

    I wanted to say thank you for inspiring me to be my best. Since i was introduced to your work i have become a man with more time, more time to plan and action the things that i truly want in my lifetime. I have cut down on TV and i now wake up daily at 5am. I did a little calculation the other day, i have found an extra 3 hours a day. Thats immense! 3 hours/day = 21hours/week = 1095hours/year, 45 extra days in a year!

    Best Regards
    Alex Pillay
    South Africa

  24. Great post! This serves as a great reminder that great leaders can come from anywhere. There isn’t an exact mold to become a leader. It’s more about the decisions one makes in life.

    – Charlene Obille

  25. Fascinating post. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information about these great personalities. People can definitely look up to them as they’ve done great things. Yes, anyone can lead. But not everyone can be as influential as these people. To be a leader can raise a lot of challenges. If people do not know about you, they would be hesitant in following you. Show them what you can offer and that you can be somehow whom they trust. Offer something that would definitely catch their attention. You need to have integrity, creativity, concern for others (employees and clients) and good communication skills.

  26. You got to love the numbers game – The Edison. Great list. Thanks.

  27. robin says:

    Thanks everyone. valuable comments…and thoughtful-as always. Guna, yes, it’s a numbers game as Edison has taught us. and Mallee, yes, out LWT Community is taking on a life of its own. best wishes to everyone who posted. keep your comments coming-they really inspire me.

  28. Harshi says:

    Great compilation Robin.. I’d like to study each of these greats! I am really getting into biographies now. I keep coming back to read, watch, and listen to all that you create, a morsel at a time. Your enthused ideas give a wonderful dose of inspiration and that needed push/refreshing. Thank you for all of your work that you share so strongly and beautifully with us! Your spirit behind the message really shows and influences. I wish you all the success and happiness every step of your journey and hope, that one day I will get to hear you in person at an event. Have a wonderful tour! Take care Robin..

  29. yanky sherpa says:

    hi Robin its me yangjee sherpa from Nepal.
    for me you are the leader who had no title!
    i had read your book called MEGA LIVING..its awesome!!

  30. […] Sharma highlights 8 creative leaders that exemplify the 8 characteristics one must have or develop to not only be a strong leader, but a […]

  31. LINGARAJU N says:

    Hi Robin,

    I have purchased so many books of motivation earlier, but no books like yours, yours books are out standing than ever, your ideas realy workout.

  32. shiva reddy says:

    nice faces, altogether

  33. shiva reddy says:

    i have a dout Robbin,,, whats the main charecteristic that differentiate humans from other living things?? please let me know…

  34. karuna sudhakar says:

    im going through your books and other author books one by one slowly and deeply to get this eight. thanks for your service, god ll bless you more than what you expect.

    karuna sudhakar.

  35. prashantn says:

    Hm being an Indian, I am attracted towards Swami Vivekananda,and a little less towards Mahatma Gandhi.

    Of the above 8, Richard Branson, he dares to move out of his boundaries.

  36. Dr Shivakumar Hiremath says:

    Hi Robin,

    The above 8 personalities each really inspires us in 8 different qualities which guides us ahead positively. Thank u so much. Today i read ur MEGALIVING… i just loved it. I am too eager to read all ur books. After Swami Vivekanada ur the one who has inspired me the most… Thanks so much Robin.

    Shiv Hiremath, Belgaum, India

  37. Shuchi says:


    when i read inspiring piece of advices in your book and those written by other authors, i feel the leadership preachers have made a new discovery in this era with a concoction of spiritualism and materialism, so i will coin a new word for it as material spiritualism. All the tricks or piece of advices help me to maintain the homeostasis of my current body/material status with surrounding human made environment but what if i want to be numb for changes in the surrounding whether am at the top or at the bottom or any other variation without compromising with my duties in the world.

    I really appreciate your writings because the content is worthy enough to motivate me to analyse the upheavals in life and make their status so small and my inner power so immense and endless.


  38. Pallavi says:

    Truely agree!….Thanks for the compilation of the greatest people….If you could please make a Part II of this list and also include Jack Welch and Stev Jobs- they have created history and will always be remembered for their leadership qualities. They belived in what they did with gut inistincts, leadership qualities what they thought were best!….

    I am kinda addicted to your site now, keep coming back to it now and again, depsite the FB fan page…. Geat website!

  39. Sagar says:

    Great list Robin. They did what they truly believed in and loved doing it. Sometimes I wonder what would have inspired them. An Inspiration or desperation to be the best of what they can.

  40. Thanks for this amazing list! I’ll keep that in mind.

  41. cléone blake says:

    Robin .. what a creative and striking post. Thank you for the motivation to develop these qualities.

  42. Do you mind if I post your article on my Wiki Site? I think your writing would suit my readers perfectly. Well ya, thanks for posting this article.

  43. Urias Goll says:

    Hi Robin

    I am grateful for your inspiring work. You have made me rediscovered my abilities today and I am learning by the day to inspire people. In your “ten new rules of work” you mention that “to double your income, triple your rate of learning”. Believe me, since then, I have tried to seek knowledge everyday and this has paid off.

    Urias Goll
    National Oil Company of Liberia

  44. […] 7) The 8 Faces of Exceptionally Creative Leaders (5170 Shares) If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that my core belief is that the old model of leadership is dead and now, anyone in any organization on any part of the planet can show leadership. I’ve seen taxi drivers who display rare-air leadership along with school teachers + breakfast servers + construction workers. Work is changing. And we all can provoke impact and influence if we Lead Without a Title. But here’s the point of this piece: not only do each of us have the potential to be leaders – we each have the potential to be creative. Massively. Click here to read more… […]

  45. mnabutali says:

    Really inspiring. Thank you

  46. Payal Shah says:

    AWESOMEEEE !!!! Loved it !! Thanks for Sharing!!!

  47. vikram says:

    You are inspiring people exceptionally that no one could ever imagine in his lifetime. and a line you have said over here is that people have been thinking ,that “It’s pure myth that the best artists achieved what they did without structure and organization.” what a insight you have, but i totally disagree with your statement that you have told that “listen to your inner voice”. I am a future and option trader by profession, and i got this experience whenever i got into the trade, my emotions come with my inner voice, and most of the time i found it wrong. Please explain it if you disagree with my statement here.

  48. priyanka says:

    Love ur articles…

  49. Raj says:

    Esta es una buena pieza. Robin de conocimientos sobre el tema es digna de elogio. Dejelo encontrar sus frutos en la vida.

  50. Roop says:

    thanq robin sir….

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