Creativity And Leadership

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Creativity and Leadership

Creativity and Leadership

Part 1 - Creativity and Leadership

The academic study of creativity and the study of leadership have a number of similarities: They are both relatively recent areas of scholarly inquiry. They are both interdisciplinary subjects that can be approached from a variety of academic perspectives. They freely cross, and combine domains of knowledge and researchers in leadership and creativity can be found in academic fields as varied as education, psychology, business, and the humanities. The terms creativity and leadership are both difficult to define because of this interdisciplinary because both consist of large sets of concepts that are often more easily defined by examples than by sets of identifiable traits (Yukl, 2007, 96-1). Successful creators and leaders tend to be judged by the results of their actions, or lack of results, rather than by the process of how they arrived at those results. The process for both often concealed, misunderstood, or of little interest to most people. The terms good leader or faithful creator can be redundancies just as imperfect leader or bad creator are oxymora. To call someone a “bad leader” may involve a moral judgment of that person or the person's actions rather than a measure of the person's efficiency or effectiveness as a leader.

The study of creativity and leadership has moved from the idea of in-born talent to process-based skills that can be learned and developed. Historically, talented leaders and great creators believed to be born with unique and rare talent (Bass, 2005, 38-42). As a result, both areas of inquiry began with the model of studying the great practitioners of the past. Since then, the “great man” theory has replaced by the view that leadership skills can be taught. Creativity, which thought to be confined to a select few, is now seen as a skill that potentially can be found in everyone (Avolio, 2005, 441).

According to Bass (2005), both leadership and creativity “were traditionally considered being proper subjects for personality researchers” (p. 42) because creativity and leadership were character traits that set this person's apart from their contemporaries. Eminent persons, whether leaders or creators, had more in ordinary with other eminent persons, even if separated by time and location, than they did with those around them. As Avolio (2005, 441) points out, current research has shown that this is not the case for either creativity or leadership.

Avolio (2005, 441) identified four main components of leadership, as reflected in a broad range of contemporary theories of leadership. They are: “(a) Leadership is a process, (b) leadership involves influence, (c) leadership occurs within a group context, and (d) leadership involves goal attainment” (p. 3). As pointed out by Rittman & Marks (2001, 451-483), each of these four elements can be applied to creativity. The consensus today is that creativity, like leadership, is best described as a process. That process involves a goal to be attained, although the goal may be ill-defined at the start of the process and may be redefined several times ...
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