Why is creativity important in leadership

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When completing a task, the phone rings or a colleague comes into the room because he needs something. The result: the task has to wait. And that costs companies money. Because the employee is torn from his concentration and has to get back into the matter. The amazing thing is that if the employee completes a task that requires creativity, such disruptions should increase problem-solving skills.

Behavioral psychologist Janina Marguc of the University of Amsterdam explains the results of her research as follows: The group, which was distracted in solving the tasks that required creative thinking and problem-solving, focused on the big picture rather than on the details because of the disturbances. This group was thus more creative than the group that was not distracted.

Benjamin Baird of the University of California found a similar explanation for his experiment. He carried out a creativity test with 145 test subjects. Those who spent a short time on simple tasks after the creativity test and then returned to the same original task increased their performance significantly. Apparently useless and boring activities distract and let your thoughts wander like daydreaming. The scientist suspects: Distractions link different regions of the brain and create new ideas for old problems. This investigation is also likely to explain why many ideas are born in boring meetings.

A surprising result was found in a study that looked at the effects of noise. The psychologists Ravi Mehta and Rui Zhu from the University of British Columbia found that it is not silence that promotes creative thinking, but rather a medium noise level. The group that solved complex tasks at 70 decibels (e.g. canteen noise) was more successful in the experiment than the control group. The scientists explain it this way: Background noises are distracting. As a result, familiar thought patterns are abandoned.

People are creative when they are open and in a good mood

Creativity researchers from Goldsmith University London examined over 650 students which personality traits promote creative potential. Accordingly, people who describe themselves as curious and open have a particularly large number of ideas. The creativity researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi comes to the same conclusion. For his book “Creativity” he interviewed 91 creative personalities. For him, the first step towards a more creative life is encouraging curiosity and interest, that is, distributing attention to things for their own sake.

Csikszentmihalyi gives the following tips that can help stimulate your own interest and curiosity:

  • Try to be amazed at something every day!
  • Try to amaze at least one person a day!
  • Write down what you were amazed at and how you amazed other people!
  • If you feel a spark of interest, follow that feeling!

According to scientists at Harvard Business School, a good mood should also increase ingenuity. An evaluation of 12,000 diary entries from 238 test persons showed: The probability that employees will have new ideas increases on days when they are in a good mood. In contrast, a worried and stressful work environment has the opposite effect.