The value of creativity is directly related to the organizations ability to harvest novel yet appropriate ideas in order to increase organizational efficiencies, solve complex problems, and improve overall effectiveness (DiLiello & Houghton, 2008). The description of harvesting unique ideas reminded me of the argument that trusting relationships is a necessary and positive factor required for the collaborative process to occur so that innovation might follow. This idea is linked with the construct of leader support behaviors, these support behaviors focus on a leader’s concern with the socio-emotional needs of followers. More specifically leader relation’s support refers to maintaining or improving cooperative interpersonal relationships that build trust and loyalty. Leaders thus listen carefully to employees to better understand their concerns, provide support, and encourage, help, and recognize people as individuals (Cheung & Wong, 2011). However, it is one thing to recognize people’s uniqueness or to listen to issues and concerns; it is quite another to encourage disparate types of thinking and different approaches to problem solving and it is the later that builds trust.
Leaders enhance trusting relationships by transferring to others their ownership of organizational challenges; and the earlier the better as it enhances the context of these dilemmas. When leaders share problems early, they give followers the freedom to do their own fact finding and to define the problem in their own way which is the secret to transferring ownership (Basadur, 2004). This does not suggest that the follower should be left alone with no support quite the contrary it simply redefines the leadership approach away from a control orientation and toward a consultative approach with lots of feedback and guidance. As Michalko (2001) notes “by building commitment, trust and bonding the organization gains control, not by controlling employees, but by freeing them” (pg. 172).
Basadur, M. (2004). Leading others to think innovatively together: Creative leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 15(1), 103-121.
Cheung, M. F., & Wong, C. S. (2011). Transformational leadership, leader support, and employee creativity. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 32(7), 656-672.
DiLiello, T. C., & Houghton, J. D. (2008). Creative potential and practised creativity: Identifying untapped creativity in organizations. Creativity and Innovation Management, 17(1), 37-46.
Michalko, M. (2001). Cracking creativity: The secrets of creative genius. Random House Digital, Inc.