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Gerard J. Puccio, Marie Mance and Selcuk Acar

With change occurring at an ever-faster rate, many argue that life in the twenty-first century moves more quickly than any other period in human history. As such, organizational leaders find themselves in contexts defined by their volatility, complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty. In an era of seemingly relentless change, managers and executives can no longer rely on past practices and old solutions. To a large extent, leadership is defined by the spirit of the times; therefore, to ensure the success of their organizations leaders today have no choice but to embrace creative thinking and creative problem solving. This chapter begins by presenting a case for creativity as a core leadership competency. Then explicit attention is given to the role of creative problem solving as a capacity for both executives and managers. Here distinctions are made in regard to three forms of behavior leaders can adopt when solving problems: management, creative management, and creative leadership. Additionally, the authors explore the role of vision and diversity with respect to creative leadership. Finally, they provide evidence for the efficacy of creativity training and suggest that leaders can increase their effectiveness by engaging in leadership development programs that include creative problem solving.