The role of business manager is often seen a very serious one that involves working with hard data, people management and not necessarily a great deal of creativity. But over the last few years, there has been a growing awareness that creativity in its many forms may be as crucial a skill for business managers as data processing, people management or goal setting.
The evolution of creativity
At one time, creativity was seen as something a bit airy – ‘artistic talent’ and such was something you were either born with or weren’t. It stood at the opposite end of the serious nature of being a business manager or entrepreneur and not really playing a part in most types of business even if they were involved in artistic industries.
Yet in a survey in 2010 by IBM that spoke to some 1500 chief executives from 60 countries and 33 industries, creativity was the most important leadership quality for business success, moving ahead of things like global thinking and integrity.
Why creativity matters
Since then, the importance of creativity in business and therefore as a skill for business managers has only continued to grow. Part of this has been an awareness that creativity isn’t just something limited to artistic professions such as authors, artists or musicians – in fact, it is a skill that most people can learn and that opens up the mind to a much wider potential.
Creativity leads to innovation and this is something that all businesses require. If you want to grow, expand, make more profits or widen your customer base, you need to innovate and this requires creativity at all levels of the business. While those who create the innovations need to be creative, so too do their managers to allow them to develop, to prosper and to grasp their ideas.
The aim of the business manager is to make everyone within the business operate at peak productivity and creativity can help with this. To find the best ways to work, the most efficient systems and novel solutions to problems, you need to be creative and to allow everyone around you to think ‘outside the box’. This leads to a sense of accomplishment and a better level of productivity.
Few problems are solved by doing the same thing over and over again – creative thinking is required to find a new solution to the problem. Therefore, managers need to apply this skill and cultivate it in their staff to find the solutions to problems facing the business at all levels.
Born with it?
There’s a perception that creativity is something you are born with but many studies and experiences show this isn’t the case. While some creative skills may be easier for some than others, all of us have some form of creativity, even though we might not recognise it as such. Therefore, by working with the right people, we can nurture this creativity and turn it into a practical skill that can help us develop in the right way for our profession and personal goals.