The Dark Side of Creativity

Creativity has been gaining more and more importance and attention in the past years, and now it could be considered one of the most fashionable characteristics. Even if most people tend to think of themselves as creative, that’s not always the case. After all, it is not necessary for everyone to be creative, but it is certainly a desirable trait in a lot of positions within the organization.

On the other hand, creativity also has its dark side. The dark side becomes visible when the creativity of the team member becomes inefficient and inconvenient for the others, and this in turn also induces risks for the organization.

However, not every single creative person will be problematic, and the below introduced interconnections are only correlations, but we have to be aware that the below described behaviors will become much stronger within the organization if we keep continuously stressing the need for creativity and keep hiring more and more creative people.

Do emotional instability and creativity go hand in hand?

Relations between creativity and bad moods or emotional swings have been deeply studied in the last quarter of the 20th century. Researches have found correlations between the two characteristics, but that does not mean that every creative person is also struggling with depression. Men of poise are usually too happy to desire creating something new, they are satisfied with themselves and their achievements, and they do not inevitably want to tower above them. The typical profile of and artist – usually identified by personality tests – shows the same interconnections between creativity and emotional instability. The same pattern can be seen in movies as well – like in “The Finder” drama series, where the leading character claims: “I do not want to heal myself, because I would lose my seventh sense”. Emotionally unbalanced people can hear the grass growing, they have the ability to see something which is not there yet, but they are able to visualize it. They are able to create a new product or service from scratch.

Incubate the creatives!

It is almost sure that a creative person is spontaneous, flexible and non-conforming. Creatives will tolerate risks and will like pushing the envelope. Regulations are the necessary evil for them and rioting is part of their lifestyle. Axiomatically, they are less detail-oriented and are less interested in implementation of ideas then in generating new ones. Let us quote here the exciting example about the creative bookkeeping of Enron – the American energy giant – where they implemented creative solutions for making more profit. It could be easier and trendier to find new, never used methods for solving problems, but for the sustainable business operations, organizations should create a well-established, predictable environment with foreseeable and regulated processes. The game-changer phenomenon from David McAdam throws light on the truthfulness of the above statement, in which he states that organizations are continuously searching for really creative employees, but after their employment they are placed within definite rigid and regulated bounds. Creativity is wanted, but possibly should be placed in an incubator, because of its potential to impede processes or even burn out.

…building a healthy mix of creative minds and process-oriented people, enables teams to continuously develop…

Narcissism mixed with some creativity

The most threatening phenomenon of the 21st century is also in connection with creativity. Narcissist people put themselves before others, are more self-involved and are more occupied with their own ideas. They do not tend to care about others’ opinions and think their own ideas are better or perfect. Narcissist people seem creative and innovative for the outsiders, because they insist rigidly on their ideas.

In conclusion

Creativity is undoubtedly necessary. As a company’s slogan says: “the future could be perfectly predicted if we create it”. Innovation is the engine of development. If organizations are smart enough to understand their creatives and build a healthy mix of creative minds and process-oriented people, then their teams will continuously develop and will be ready for the new business challenges. If there is someone at the company who takes the ideas all the way forward and there is someone who executes the old (well-working) processes, the organization will have the necessary resources for new ideas. Companies can have too much creativity!



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