Effective leaders want strong teamwork, and they should work to achieve that, but to what extent, and at what cost? Kermit the frog phrased what most creative- minds face every day – it isn’t easy being different.
For Kermit, it “wasn’t easy being green.” For Jim Henson it wasn’t always easy to “think different” and the general public even thinks that a lot of creative types are simply weird. Perhaps. But the creative weirdness of their brains has given us break-through findings, theories, and creations that we would otherwise be without.
Think Nobel Prize winner, John Nash who believed aliens were contacting him, Howard Hughes –a germ-a-phobic, or poet Sylvia Plath who felt so misunderstood she stuck her head in an unlit-gas oven. Were they crazy, geniuses, or a bit of both?
In “Scientific American Mind” Shelly Carson, (an expert in the field of creativity and how the brain of the highly creative works) says, “Highly creative people seem weirder than the rest of us.” (Scientific American Mind, Special edition Winter 2014, The Unleashed Mind) Carson posits that highly creative people are wired differently than most. Scientists believe that these people have ‘reduced cognitive filtering’ pushing them to live more inside their own heads, than as part of a team.
If effective leaders want to be great leaders, to move ahead of the competition, to solve-problems, or change how we see something, they must recognize that the big idea could come from the outlier of the team. The one with purple hair, the one who rarely emerges from his or her office, the person who is late to, or forgets meetings, or the one who always see things differently, frequently causing friction on the team.
They are the triangle pegs trying to fit into the round holes. Create different kinds of spaces inside your team. Leave room for the triangle who is funneling ideas into his or her brain that the rest of us cannot see. We are not, nor should we be, all alike.
A Leader Who Wants to Grow His People
- Look for strengths in an individual not his or her weaknesses
- Allow different speeds for different people on your team
- Keep your frustration with the “rule bender” in check
Yes, the highly creative person on the team can be the pebble in your shoe or he or she may become the rock of genius. Encourage these kinds of people, within reason leave them alone when they need alone time. True leadership and teamwork is coming together, and celebrating individual strengths. By Connie Timpson/Team Building Consultant/Performance Coach/Author©
(Scientific American Mind, Special edition Winter 2014, The Unleashed Mind, by Shelley Carson)