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'A Creative Leader'

Written by Mike Petrakis.

How important is it for a Leader to focus on the development of his/her creative elements? How do creativity and leadership connect to each other? How should a Leader manage himself and his team to achieve businesses goals?

Creativity is characterized by the skill and the power of using the imaginative ability to produce something new, fresh, such as as services and products in a new form and is above all the source of innovation. Creativity, according to the most important business organizations, will be in the future the most important skill – characteristic of entrepreneurship and of our everyday life.

Recently Adobe published a global research about creativity in the workplace, in the education system and our society.

A research based on interviews of around 5.000 people, from USA, UK, Germany, France and Japan shows that 8 in out of 10 people aim believe that unblocking creativity is essential for economic growth but only a few people (only 1 out of in 4), could express and live their own potential.

According also to very significant organizations, Creativity is the most important skill in business for the future… An example at the link below. 


For a Leader focusing on creativity is a very important skill especially when he/she collaborates, communicates, develops the company’s / organization’s vision, solves complex problems, negotiates or even when he/she comes in touch and connects with his/her associates, employees, customers and competitors. Creativity is essential for maintaining the balance between IQ and EQ. Creative leaders work with his/her instinct, focus and embrace, are imaginative, accept criticism, seek progress, balance themselves and their team, motivate people and are not afraid to operate out of the box. In addition, they are visionaries, their work is purposeful and they always act as artists do. 

‘A Creative and Innovative Leader must be open minded and good learner, to be receptive and to collect by different sources and different people. To knead and work his/her mind through critical thinking. Must be visionaire and when is needed to function beyond traditional ways’.

What are the main features that distinguish creative leaders?

Creative leaders:·        

  • Explore - express and try new trends in society, whether it is technology, art, even new products, services, etc.       
  • They steal an idea, as the artist does, recreating and repositioning, presenting it through his/her own vision.·        
  • They operate through critical thinking, because their mind is always in a creative process.·        
  • They connect and bridge the present with the past and the future, the old with the new, and they are curious about what is surrounding them by seeking the unexplored, as artists do.·        
  • They try to transform others by setting an example.·        
  • Create space for shared experiences.·        
  • They can change our lives virtually, having the ability to come up with ideas to solve problems and exploit opportunities.·        
  • Convert creative ideas into new products and services.·        
  • They have imagination, curiosity, authenticity and are reformers.·        
  • Approach and attract the right people, at the right times, to the right level for the implementation of the project.·        
  • They allow their team to be more creative and they set the right example for their group.·       
  • They constantly ask questions, have their own identity and are not afraid to argue with the traditional thinking.·        
  •  Accept the inevitable and the value of failure, create psychological security to maximize learning from failure, recognize the different levels of failure and how it can be useful, and the value of the second chance.


Creative Leaders engagement:

Asks inspiring questions, allowing ideas to bubble up from the workforce, helps others succeed, use metaphors, analogies, and stories—to help teams conceptualize together and get people with different backgrounds and expertise to work together.

Encourage individuals to gain diverse experiences that will increase their creativity and provide sufficient time and resources for exploration.

Accept the inevitability and utility of failure, create psychological safety to maximize learning from failure, recognize the different kinds of failure and how they can be useful and create good mechanisms for filtering ideas without killing dead-end projects.

Motivate others with intellectual challenge, clear paths through the bureaucracy for creative ideas, allow people to do ‘good work’, show the higher purpose of projects whenever possible.

Creative Leaders should always ask questions to themselves, in order to continuously progress. Some example questions are:

Creative Leaders have gut instinct, focus and embrace, are imaginative, accept criticism, seeking for progress, balance themselves and their team, motivate people/employees, aren’t afraid to expose their thoughts, being outside of the box, being authentic. 

‘Imagination, Curiosity, Intent, Focus, Engagement, Authenticity, Criticism, Form and Reform, Skill, Representation, Context and Purpose are elements of a creative Leader’.

In today's growing competition and emerging need to study continuous social changes, we require creative leaders in entrepreneurship, visionaries, flexible leaders to inspire and who do not hesitate to take risks. Creative leaders who are motivated by their passion such as Henry Ford,  Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, constantly seeking new ideas, innovation, connecting the seemingly unconnected, which is the basis of creativity and innovation.

A Creative Remarkable Leader he/she builds great teams around him/her that are diverse, innovative and courageous, to help him/her succeed every day…

Creativity at its highest point is to connect the IQ with EQ and both to work in balance.’

* The Adobe’s study was produced by research firm StrategyOne and conducted as an online survey among a total of 5,000 adults, 18 years or older, 1,000 each in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan. Interviewing took place from March 30 to April 9 2019. The data set for each country is nationally representative of the population of that country.


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'Leadership is about trust, empathy and Interpersonal relationships'

Written by Mike Petrakis.


About two months ago I had a meeting with an old friend of mine which I hadn’t seen for a long time.

In our conversation he told me that he had just completed his college studies, in the field of psychology and he was expecting his bachelor degree to start his job as a Psychologist.

Since I was very happy to meet him and to congratulate him also at the same time for his accomplishment, I urged my friend to go and celebrate it with a glass of wine. 

During our conversation my friend mentioned that while waiting for his degree, he was working as a pizza delivery for a well-known multinational pizza company, in order to cover his expenses, something he also did throughout all the period of his studies. 

In our conversation he also mentioned his employer and I asked him about the working conditions and the cooperation with his employer and company. Throughout our discussion my friend also mentioned a case that I found as an exceptional example of leadership, taking into account the different position (formal and informal leadership) and role that my friend and his employer had inside the company.

The case was, that one day he had to deliver an order, where the customer tried to pay with his credit card, which the pos machine (credit card machine) that my friend had with him as a payment method, couldn’t accept it. 

Finally my friend delivered the order after consultation with the company's central store and he returned again the other day to the customer to complete the order’s payment, where he faced the same problem again, ending up taking the responsibility to pay the amount owed by the order from his salary. 

That was a reaction that I consider to be the behavior of a real leader, taking on and acknowledging the responsibility he had to deliver the pizza without finally being paid and without completing his job.  He continued telling me that the next day the company manager invited my friend to his office to wish him a happy birthday. However, together with his wishes, the manager stated that he would himself cover the amount of the order and will give him also an additional amount of 5 Euros as a tip. 

The manager told my friend that he recognizes the solvency and he expressed his appreciation towards my friend for his responsibility and their good cooperation until then and in particular recognized with high self-awareness, that my friend showed leadership style and responsibility for his action. However what is also very important, which highlights even more the act of his manager at the same time as a great leader through his own position and role, is that he asked my friend not to discuss this issue for covering the payment of the amount by himself, with his other colleagues. 

Trust, empathy and creating relationships 

What do we observe here ... two significant leadership behaviors from different positions and roles within the same company. At the same time 2 very significant examples of empathy and responsibilities, each taking on and recognizing the responsibility they showed as well as the engagement, trust and organization’s mission that requires attention to interpersonal and social processes. Trust requires comfort amongst team members and willingness to admit their mistakes, weaknesses or need for help. When there is no trust, there is fear of conflict - which is the next dysfunction. Without trust, people don't engage in productive debates. 

Trust requires that you approach situations with sincerity, kindness and openness. It has been observed that outstanding team leaders begin by giving people the benefit of doubt. They begin by assuming that people will make the right choice. If you want people to trust you, you must begin the process by assuming that people are trustworthy.

Real Leaders provide emotionally rewarding experiences that are shared among members of a group, promoting stronger bonds and fostering personal fulfillment and they know how to connect with their people.

To summarize, you have to pay attention to certain key issues as a team leader. You're managing not merely a technical system, but also a social system. As a team leader, you have to attend to a number of key factors; shared understanding of goals, positive work climate, right processes, effective conflict management, constructive voicing of concerns and issues and relations of trust.

The most effective leaders understand that leading involves listening and learning, and they encourage feedback from people around them to work on their weaknesses. Self-awareness, one of the key characteristics of high Emotional Intelligent, is a quality that can distinguish a good leader from a great leader. If you don’t know who you are, if you don’t know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you will have a hard time gaining people’s trust and growing as a leader.

Companies will have to invest even more in their people, to have a deeper level of communication and understanding, because the root of business is relationships, and dialogue is the basic unit of work in an organization and healthy relationships must be at the heart of every company.

An inspiring Leader put people first and he/she enable people with the right capabilities he/she needs to succeed.

Exceptional Leaders faces forward and marches confidently, assuming their troops will follow them because they trust their troops and themselves. Moreover they are confident enough to hire people they can trust and let them do whatever they do best with a minimum of oversight.

Finally, especially due to current situation with the global pandemic, I believe we need more anthropocentric values inside organizations.


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L.E.A.D.E.R. (Listening/Learning Empathize Accept/Artistic Diversity Empathy/Equality Recreating/Rewarding)

Written by Mike Petrakis.

On this article about leadership I express some of my personal beliefs for the elements, reactions and habits of creative, visionaire and successful leader.

Every leader must be receptive to any feedback, especially on the negative ones He/she should recognize that he/she don’t have all the answers and, he/she show-off his/her humanity starting by listening and caring for his/her colleagues.

Leaders in every organization should give to capable employees projects to develop their leadership character, involving them in decision-making and inspiring them to band together to accomplish something beautiful and great.

Especially due to current situation with covid 19 should show respect for each entity to enhance enrichment and diversity, equality and the development of innovation, through the right structures.





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'ESSI - European School of Social Innovation'

Written by Mike Petrakis.

In this article I would like to make a short presentation of the 'ESSI' - European School of Social Innovation  which I collaborate and I consider it a very important organization in the education and development for social innovation.


ESSI is an international network of organizations and scholars active in social innovation:

It aims at representing varieties of European thought on social innovation, yet is open to the world for wider comparison and collaboration. Educators and researchers in scientific institutions, promoters and intermediaries are welcome to ESSI, as well as practitioners in all societal sectors, i.e. public organizations, SMEs and corporations, and – of course – civil society organizations (NGOs/NPOs) and initiatives.”

More at the link   https://www.essi-net.eu/

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'About Diversity... again!

Written by Mike Petrakis.





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‘Culture and Diversity is the key for an Organizational Development - Leadership’ Part 2

Written by Mike Petrakis.

Leaders must know how to motivate, inspire and embrace their people and how to guide them in their decision making and growth.

I have seen leaders fail because they didn’t take the time to show people who they are… My suggestion to a leader is, letting your followers get to know you requires showcasing your strengths while also exposing vulnerabilities, people will support you, will embrace you as a person, as well (people) they can help guide you in your decision making and growth.

The most effective leaders understand that leading involves learning, and they encourage feedback from people around them to work on their weaknesses. Self-awareness, one of the key characteristics of high Emotional Intelligent, is a quality that can distinguish a good leader from a great leader. If you don’t know who you are, if you don’t know what your strengths and weaknesses are, you will have a hard time gaining people’s trust and growing as a leader.

Leaders must have deeper level of communication, of listening and understanding.

Leaders should grow the interest of connecting, collecting, earning, engaging, observing, questioning networking and to be opened, as well helping their people to have more affective responses to their surroundings.

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Leaders must embody and communicate emotions, ideas, beliefs and values; to convey meanings through aesthetic forms and symbols and evoke emotive responses to life with or without words.

Leaders must not only embrace diversity but should reward it!

Great leaders of today are addressing these tensions head-on with a simple remedy: They ask for help. They trust that their teams will be motivated when asked to contribute their ideas on how to reconcile these and other tensions that confront their organizations. They have the humility to express transparently and authentically that together, as a community of leaders, they will put these issues into the proper perspective.

Great leaders are the ones who are preparing themselves not for the comfortable predictability of yesterday, but for the realities of today and the fantastic possibilities of tomorrow. They build great teams around them that are diverse, innovative and courageous, to help them succeed every day.

They care about the welfare of their employees and invest in safe working conditions. Their investment mentality leads them to deepen their commitments to.

Connection for Organizations and Leaders is building relationships with their team, with Ideas, Elements, Surroundings, Customers, Society, Innovation...

A  Leader must nurture the brilliance of his/her people and do everything he/she can to remove barriers to high performance. Avoid being too autocratic and allow time for the team to weigh in on decisions. Help build team connections across the organization. Give credit where credit is due and recognize team performance as well as individual.

The leader must adapt management style, roles, duties, and strategies in order to work with diverse people of cultures, other than his/her own.

Leaders need to know what to build into their culture to help implement change tactics into existing programs to produce the desired results for the organization, because employees want to feel they have worth and understanding and it is their work culture that can breed a sense of satisfaction into their daily tasks.

The leader must touch not only the “head” but also the “heart”, connecting with his/her emotions, which enables him/her to engage with others in a way that stimulates them to act.

Organizational leaders need to personify the different values of cultures inside the workplace, in order to be effective. Leaders especially in contemporary multicultural organizations must master context to understand culture while managing and leading in an environment where there are no common definitions of efficient outcome or effectiveness. It is imperative that organizations address cultural differences when managing diverse work forces

About people… To associate themselves with their organizations and define themselves as

organizational members must answer to the questions, “Who am I”, “Who are we” and “What does this organization stand for” to find their identity.

Identity is a construction of oneself (one’s group or organization), typically in a favorable light, in terms of key orientations, distinctiveness and some degree of continuity/coherence. Identity is commonly viewed as central to meaning, motivation, commitment, loyalty, well-being, work satisfaction, logics of action and decision-making, stability and change, leadership, group and intergroup relations, organizational collaborations, and so on.

 Below there are some suggestions through my collaborations, as a consultant, mentor, L&D specialist and trainer to use as a starting point for the organizations.

  •  Starting by asking clear, focusing, synoptical and debatable questions.
  •  Having empathy, resilience and controlled interaction.
  •  Increasing knowledge and confidence of people is the key of wealth and innovation.
  •  All learning experience they should know also that has an emotional base.
  •  Deployment of learning sessions will increase knowledge retention.
  •  Focused attention in fundamental to acquiring new knowledge.
  •  Enhancing brain capacity supports learning.·
  •  Should demand and embrace diversity, as well to be opened with equality. 


  •  A growth mindset searching for opportunities to learn and valuing failure as a learning opportunity.
  •  An open attitude on trust and respecting other perspectives and ideas.
  •  A way of working focused on co-creation, associating and experimenting.


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‘Culture and Diversity is the key for an Organizational Development’ Part 1

Written by Mike Petrakis.

Recently I read among other books, articles, reports etc a study by ‘MITSloan’ in collaboration with ‘Cognizant’ entitled 'The New Leadership Playbook for the Digital Age', finding several interesting facts about the present and the future in terms of the culture for an organization , agreeing with some elements and disagreeing with some others.


Through my career and involvement in personal, professional and in artistic level, I have always liked to socialize and connect with people with other interests, different knowledge, polymaths… with a variety of backgrounds. The recent situation and events with the global pandemic, shows us how important is the personal structure and investment for each entity, for a team, as well as for the organizations that benefit from their people, must focus and develop more of investing for the training in the characteristics of their employees and, consequently, benefiting themselves (organizations) earning better support and results with more structured bases and below I’m sharing some freely and random expressions of my ideas, thoughts and suggestions.  It turns out through the current situation with COVID-19, that personal structure, skills and development are very important, as well as for a leader to be able to control his/her team, people, as well as for an organization, beyond from its financial strength and security, to have a strong culture and connection with its people, where it will help it in every difficult circumstances to come out as untouchable and unaffected as possible.

Culture is the glue that holds an organization together and unites people around shared values and beliefs, the interwoven patterns of beliefs, values, practices, and artifacts that defines for members who they are and how they are to do things.

* You could read also my previous articles regarding the importance of culture in business titled, 'ABCD About Business Culture Development part 1 & 2' at the links... 



Pluralism and diversity in an organization has a lot of positive elements to give to itself, to society, to the market, to the connection and the development of all the previous ones. Organizations in any of their activities and sector could and should play a significant role for our society and for the planet, starting from their inside and their people, because the recent events show us that as a people, as organizations, that we need to redefine some of our values. 

People are the most important tool, part, element for every organization

Organizations today are changing rapidly due to technology, globalization, and cutting-edge production, subsequently morphing into new structures and workflow processes. Organizations should become more diverse in terms of gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, especially in cultural skills, knowledge and background, and other elements. The core of organizational composition worldwide still remains within the human resource realm for a shared and cohesive culture is behind the success of every company.

Companies should increase transparency, demonstrate authenticity and emphasize more in collaboration, resilience and empathy.

Organizations must understand that people don’t want to be just employees; but also an active citizens and important part in a workplace that are doing their best to change the world for the better. We must constantly remember how important the human factor is for building great teams, to working well with customers, and to creating amazing organizations, through listening, empathy, engagement, resilience, equality, etc, bringing in front of, more anthropocentric values.

*According to a research by Harvard Business Review, 71% of respondents rank employee engagement as very important to achieving overall organizational success, 72% of respondents, rank recognition given for high performers as having a significant impact on employee engagement but only 24% of respondents say employees in their organization are highly engaged.

Diversity helps organizations to become more resilient and flexible, to understand and communicate also more emotionally and with more basic human values, ​​from their employees to their customers and to our society.

We all talk about numbers and we always consider them indisputable judges, at least most of the times, but we forget what is hidden behind them ... People ... who are the ones who create them, influence them and control the large percentage and part of them. 

Organizations need to create a respect for every entity, to enhance wealth and diversity, equality, which it will help them also to develop innovation, through the right basics and structures, for social growth. 

‘Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simply way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing.’ Brian Chesky. Co-founder and CEO, Airbnb,

Companies will have to invest even more in their people, to have a deeper level of communication and understanding, because the root of business is relationships, and dialogue is the basic unit of work in an organization and healthy relationships must be at the heart of every company.

Dialogue is the single-most important factor underlying the productivity and growth of the knowledge employee (the people who get paid to think). Ram Charan in his essay on ‘Conquering a Culture of Indecision’, (HBR 2001) said the Dialogue is characterized by incisiveness, creativity, and synergizing diverse points of view into a cohesive understanding that illuminates new insights, enabling decision-making and action. The quality of dialogue determines the quality of idea generation, problem –solving and how people make decisions. How people feel about one another impacts the outcome of these decisions.

For a team, getting the right people and understanding each of their specialized expertise is essential. A team is important and so are their ideas; this is what leveraging creative collaboration is all about.

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’ Peter Drucker, Management Consultant, Educator, Author.

Millennials and Gen-Z expectations in work

More than 50% of millennials say they would take a pay cut to find work that matches their values, while 90% want to use their skills for good. And these trends are on the up. Deloitte’s 7th Annual Millennial Survey of 12,000 young people, for example–both millennials and gen Z–reports record low opinions of businesses. Fewer than half now believe that businesses behave ethically, and this directly affects how loyal they feel to their employers; 43% of millennials and a whopping 61% of gen-Zers expect to stay in a job no more than two years. And all this against a backdrop of general public opinion that is also looking increasingly unkindly on the economic paradigm we have.

Diversity of mindset, diversity of experience, diversity of skills, diversity of background, is the key which will boost organizations to a wealthy future and success.

End of Part 1

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