When properly managed, creativity can be found in any employee, regardless of the job description. On the whole, creative people typically fall into a variety of categories, ranging from those who are quick and dramatic to people who are careful and quiet. But one thing remains true of all: most creative ideas are not flashes of inspiration in an individual’s head but rather come from how people identify, create, store, share and use the knowledge they’re exposed to in their surrounding environment.
And fostering that environment (not the act of creativity itself) is the task of creative leadership.
According to the Snowflake Model of Creativity, developed by Professor David Perkins of Harvard University, there are six common traits present in creative people:
The first three traits are largely cognitive and the last three refer to aspects of personality. As none of the six are viewed to be genetically inherited, Perkins argues that creativity can be taught and, as it relates to modern business, cultivated.
Managing for creativity and innovation differs slightly from other methods of management due to the level of freedom employees are given in comparison to those in other job functions. But like any other process, managing creative functions must strike a balance between employees, clients, audiences, and partners, achieving satisfaction between all involved for it to be effective.
This balancing act is reportedly achieved by employing five distinct leadership tools to stimulate the creative mind that include: the amount of challenge given to personnel, the degree of freedom granted to minimize hassles related to procedures and processes, the design of workgroups to tap ideas from all employees, the level of encouragement and incentives provided (including rewards and recognition), and the nature of support provided by the organization as a whole. It goes without saying, but managers must be motivated themselves to achieve a peak outcome.