Published on August 27, 2008
Creativity is a Leader’s Secret Weapon Tudor Rickards & Susan Moger
Running, almost unnoticed, through the histories of leaders.. ..has been the story of their creativity
… is a link between Leadership and Creativity Studies at Manchester Business School have established a clear link between effective leaders and their skills at encouraging creative change..
Creative Leaders Release Creativity in Self and Others The leader’s secret weapon is the application of creativity , directed towards releasing more creativity in others Leader Creativity Creativity Benign structures Creativity Creativity Creativity Creativity Team Factors
Working and Theoretical Definitions Working definitions are provided here for creativity , leadership, creative leadership and benign structures These definitions are adequate for explaining a new idea, or for ‘ starting a conversation ’ Conceptually richer definitions are required for building and exploring theory
Working definitions Creativity: The process which generates new and valuable ideas Leadership: The process directed towards influencing the actions and achievements of a wider group Creative leadership: The process which generates new and valued ideas directed towards influencing those actions and achievements Benign Structures: Procedures through which groups achieve valued improvements in performance
Early Views of Leadership … Society and circumstances create leaders A supreme being creates human leaders
More Recent Views of Leadership (Great) Leaders create (great) changes in their worlds … Leaders and social systems co-create one another (We create ‘ the leaders we deserve ’)
Creative Leadership: The MBS studies (1980s-2008) MBA project team studies (1980s-2000) Longitudinal studies (1999 - ) Leadership data base (2006 -) Manchester Business School (West)
Project Team Leadership and The Manchester Method The Project Team studies were part of an educational innovation known as The Manchester Method MBA teams ‘learn while doing’ business projects’ Team tutors began to recognise consistent patterns of success and failure
Three Kinds of Team? A small proportion of teams struggled (‘Teams from Hell’) The majority of the teams achieved the goals set them (‘Standard Teams’) Another minority performed beyond expectations (‘Dream Teams’) ?
Earlier theories did not predict the observed results .. Team development theory (Tuckman) suggests that all teams share a common pattern of development Leadership models (Stogdill) favour two leadership styles ( consideration for people, initiating structures ) New leadership proposes two different leadership Factors ( transactional/ transformational styles )
A Leadership Theory Emerged It proposed two barriers to team success Leaders created new and benign structures for action and change The theory identified seven team factors associated with team success
How the Two-barrier Proposal Modifies Team Development Theory
The role of Benign Structures in Creative Leadership Creative leaders help reconfigure the structures under which team members operate. Team-building structures overcome inter-personal barriers and establish team norms In a ‘dream team’, leadership provides structures which transcend established norms
More about Benign Structures MBS project leaders introduced benign structures based on lateral thinking approaches, versions of brainstorming, mindmapping and ‘Yes and’ invitations (encouragement of positivity) More research is required on benign structures in other kinds of situations and teams
The Seven Team Factors Influenced by Creative Leadership
On-going research into Creative Leadership at MBS Longitudinal Studies (1999-2008) Extended studies of exceptional leaders The Leadership Data Base (2006-8) The 300 stories are of leadership events such as corporate transformations and crises from the worlds of business, sport and politics.
Conclusions Leadership and creativity are more closely linked than has previously been believed Leaders set up benign structures through which teams and groups achieve unexpectedly creative results The findings, mostly from project teams, may have more universal relevance
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