How to free up capacity and bring out the creative best in people

Susan found that leaders who believe in you don’t just bring out the best in you, they help develop the creative aspect of you. In the early part of her career, she worked in a command/control style environment in a consulting company. She found that approach was effective for dealing with a known type of problem. It produced a consistent performance driven type culture, but they did not tap into people’s creativity.

These days, like most leaders, Susan is in a world of ambiguity where she does not always know even what the right problem is. In her experience, a more inclusive style of leadership brings out creative thought and many ways of tackling a problem.

One of the key tenets of her approach is to understand the limits of her team’s cognitive abilities. If she treats people well, they do not have to put their thinking capacity toward protecting and defending themselves. It means they can provide their input towards solving the challenges in front of them, freeing up a lot of capacity. In organisations where Susan has worked, where it’s been about command/control and fear, there is a lot of time spent on the unnecessary politics of survival. People are not at their creative best when they are under stress. She has found they narrow their focus down to doing the minimum to survive. True creativity comes with excess capacity.

In 2004, David Rock found that brain research provided a missing piece in understanding how to be more effective leaders, managers or coaches. He coined the term ‘NeuroLeadership’ in 2007. In the article, The Neuroscience of Leadership he suggests, “Managers who understand the recent breakthroughs in cognitive science can lead and influence mindful change: organizational transformation that takes into account the physiological nature of the brain, and the ways in which it predisposes people to resist some forms of leadership and accept others. These conclusions would have been considered counterintuitive or downright wrong only a few years ago.”

These conclusions affirm Susan’s insights about people being at their creative best when they are given the opportunity to shine.

🙋‍♀️ How do you free up capacity and bring out the creative best in people? 🙋‍♂️

Best regards, Brian