Richard Florida (2002) noted “that everywhere we look, creativity is increasingly valued. Firms and organizations value it for the results it can produce and individuals value it as a route to self-expression and job satisfaction” (pg. 71). Thus it seems fitting that these organizations would seek leaders who are not only creative themselves but who are capable of fostering creativity throughout the organization. I would offer that fostering, enhancing, recognizing, rewarding, championing, and otherwise endorsing the use of creativity in each follower is the more critical requirement of a leader in today’s global landscape. In other words, must a leader be creative to enhance the creativity of an organization? I suppose it depends on the definition of creativity. One definition states that creativity is the production of novel and useful ideas (Gumusluoglu & Ilsev, 2009) and consists largely of rearranging what we know in order to determine what we do not know (Michalko, 2010).
Transformational leaders may be best at this approach because this type of leader’s behavior is likely to act as creativity enhancers: individualized consideration “serves as a reward” for the follower; intellectual stimulation “enhances exploratory thinking” by providing support for autonomy and challenge; and inspirational motivation “provides encouragement into the idea generation process” (Bass & Avolio, 1995). The resulting intrinsic motivation felt by the follower, it is argued, is an important source of creativity (Tierney, Farmer, & Graen, 1999). The individual is the ultimate source of any new idea (Redmond, Mumford & Teach, 1993) however, leadership is required to ensure that idea can meet the needs of the organization. The creative leader’s responsibility and primary value to the organization is to encourage and facilitate idea generation (Paulus & Yang, 2000) and then involve others to solve the critical challenges they have identified (Basadur, 2004).
Basadur, M. (2004). Leading others to think innovatively together: Creative leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 15(1), 103-121.
Bass, B. M., & Avolio, B. J. (1995). MLQ Multifactor leadership questionnaire. Redwood City, CA: Mind Garden.
Gumusluoglu, L., & Ilsev, A. (2009). Transformational leadership, creativity, and organizational innovation. Journal of Business Research, 62(4), 461-473.
Florida, R. (2002). The Rise of the creative class and how its transforming work, leisure, community & everyday life. New York: Basic Books.
Michalko, M. (2010). Thinkertoys: A handbook of creative-thinking techniques. Random House Digital, Inc.
Paulus, P. B., & Yang, H. C. (2000). Idea generation in groups: A basis for creativity in organizations. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 82(1), 76-87.
Redmond, M. R., Mumford, M. D., & Teach, R. (1993). Putting creativity to work: Effects of leader behavior on subordinate creativity. Organizational behavior and human decision processes, 55(1), 120-151.
Tierney, P., Farmer, S. M., & Graen, G. B. (1999). An examination of leadership and employee creativity: The relevance of traits and relationships. Personnel Psychology, 52(3), 591-620.