March 04, 2010

creative leadership

Creative Leadership

Opposite to what some authors say, Basadur suggest that theories that try to match the “right” traits or behaviours to the “right” situation are conventional theories which have less to do with quality leadership. He avers that leadership has more to do with how leaders influence others in thinking together in innovative ways. He says that effective leaders will help individuals and teams defining new problems in the company, solving them, and implementing innovative solutions. These solutions (new ideas) are often initially rejected, as people do not accept change easily (the traditional fear of opposing the status quo), and they are viewed as bizarre or even foolish propositions. 

The process approach to applied creativity

Adaptability is driven by organizational creativity, which has been defined as a continuous process of thinking innovatively, or finding and solving problems, and implementing new solutions.Kabanoff & Rossiter, 1994 B. Kabanoff and J.R. Rossiter, Recent developments in applied creativity, International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology 9 (1994), pp. 283–324.Kabanoff and Rossiter (1994) defined applied creativity as a process “occurring in a real-world, industrial, organizational, or social context; pertaining to the finding or solving of complex problems; and having an actual behavioral creative product (or plan) as the final result.” Leaders can use creativity as the deliberate tool to lead their organizations to achieve adaptability. Studying and discussing creativity is difficult and complex, and no single, agreed-upon definition of this quality exists—and researchers have taken many different approaches to studying it. However, one approach that models creativity as a process, with phases or stages, has been proven effective in permitting people in organizations to increase creative performance and communicate more efficiently with others in creative teamwork.  Basadur et al (1982) showed that appropriate training in thinking skills, attitudes, and behaviors associated with executing such a multistage process was effective in improving creative performance. Basadur and Head (2001) showed that teams with more heterogeneous preferences for various phases or stages of the creative process were more innovative than teams whose members were more homogeneous in preference for stages of the creative process. This offers leaders a blueprint to learn how to lead others to achieve adaptability. By developing a high level of skills, leaders can lead others in executing this process and in learning the skills, attitudes, and behaviors required to execute the process well. Above all, leaders can learn to synchronize individuals' very different preferences for various stages of the creative process, called his or her process style.

Basadur, M., (2004). Leadership others to think innovatively together: Creative leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 15, 103-121.

Kabanoff and J.R. Rossiter, Recent developments in applied creativity, International Review of Industrial and Organizational Psychology 9 (1994), pp. 283–324.

Basadur, G.B. Graen and S.G. Green, Training in creative problem solving: Effects on ideation and problem finding in an applied research organization, Organizational Behavior and Human Performance 30 (1982), pp. 41–70.

M.S. Basadur and M. Head, Team performance and satisfaction: A link to cognitive style within a process framework, Journal of Creative Behavior 35 (2001), pp. 1–22.


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