We've certainly covered the heck out of how bad bosses, toxic cultures, and negative comments can crush creative thinking and creativity. These all dampen creative thinking because while ideas are in the awkward stage when someone has just envisioned them, the last thing you need is to attack them because they are outside the norm or aren’t fully-formed.
What you might not consider, however, is how an uber-positive boss that is TOO OVER THE TOP when communicating how great early stage ideas are ALSO CRUSHES creative thinking.
Here's an example.
Suppose a team is charged with doing the creative thinking to generate new ideas for an initiative. Sometimes the ideas are developed collaboratively; other times, ideas are shared one-on-one with the boss.
In a group where it is understood that creative ideas are considered works in progress, supportive comments from the boss are helpful to further creativity. Ideas that build on original ideas are beneficial. Creative thinking that removes or reshapes initial ideas is okay because team members understand an idea's origin and can offer creative adaptations in a smart, supportive way.
When creative possibilities are shared individually with the boss, however, team knowledge about new ideas is limited. All you know about the idea is what the boss communicates back to the group. If an uber-positive boss shares only effusive praise for a new creative idea, it is challenging to for someone else to say, "That idea doesn't make strategic sense," or "There are other possibilities for that idea that you didn’t consider." Sure, you can step out and offer these perspectives. But when uber-positive praise from the boss makes it seem as if the weak idea is the best creative idea ever, trying to actively adapt the idea can be, in the best case, a big challenge, or, in the worst case, seen as trying to sabotage someone else's creative thinking.
5 Ideas When an Uber-Positive Boss Crushes Creative Thinking
A better approach as the boss is, when sharing the idea with the full team, to:
- Introduce the creative idea
- Credit the idea's originator
- Remark positively on the idea's possibilities and potential to grow and develop
- Share the idea's status (i.e., it’s open for consideration all the way to it's a done deal)
- Invite team members to comment, build on, and adapt the idea with their own creative thinking
These five steps help a boss be positive about a new creative idea while still creating room to allow other team members to provide their unencumbered creative thinking.
If you're the boss, be positive about new creative thinking without going overboard. Doing this will encourage your team's full collective strategic and creative thinking potential. - Mike Brown
Download our FREE “Taking the No Out of InNOvation eBook to help generate extreme creativity and ideas! For organizational innovation success, contact The Brainzooming Group to help your team be more successful by rapidly expanding strategic options and creating innovative growth strategies. Email us at email@example.com or call us at 816-509-5320 to learn how we can deliver these benefits for you.