…And it ain’t cuz we’re too good looking for the gig:
The Bias Against Creatives as Leaders – by Heidi Grant Halvorson
Two candidates are being interviewed for a leadership position in your company. Both have strong resumes, but while one seems to be bursting with new and daring ideas, the other comes across as decidedly less creative (though clearly still a smart cookie). Who gets the job?
The answer, unfortunately, is usually the less creative candidate. This fact may or may not surprise you – you yourself may have been the creative candidate who got the shaft. But what you’re probably wondering is, why?
After all, it’s quite clear who should be getting the job. Studies show that leaders who are more creative are in fact better able to effect positive change in their organizations, and are better at inspiring others to follow their lead.
And yet, according to recent research there is good reason to believe that the people with the most creativity aren’t given the opportunity to lead, because of a process that occurs (on a completely unconscious level) in the mind of everyone who has ever evaluated an applicant for a leadership position.
The problem, put simply, is this: our idea of what a prototypical “creative person” is like is completely at odds with our idea of a prototypical “effective leader.”
Creativity is associated with nonconformity, unorthodoxy, and unconventionality. It conjures visions of the artist, the musician, the misunderstood poet. In other words, not the sort of people you usually put in charge of large organizations. Effective leaders, it would seem, should provide order, rather than tossing it out the window.