Creativity and Charisma

DSCN0565c.jpgLook though recent articles on leadership and you will find that creativity to be in high demand. IBM’s Institute for Business Value conducted a survey of 1,500 chief executives and discovered that creativity had risen to top as the most valuable attribute of a leader. The ability to generate new idea, and solve problems creatively has become the new competency that is supposed to ensure the success of a business in tight economic times. [1]

But you cannot keep adding to new competencies without some sacrifice.  Basically any business needs to consider which attributes, such as team player or works well with others, that they are willing do without in when they hire a creative person. Øyvind L. Martinsen of the BI Norwegian Business School recommends that “An employer would be wise to conduct a position analysis to weigh the requirements for the ability to cooperate against the need for creativity.” [2]

One of those attributes that might have to be sacrificed to obtain a creative leader, is having a person who fits the appearance of leadership.  Research from Netherlands indicates that in business culture, groups expect the leader to conform to the norms. Those who establish a group identity and are typical of a group tend to be more influential because it appears that their self interests are also the group’s interest. [3] Following company culture to ensure success is pretty much the opposite from being original.

In a study in India, employees were rated for “leadership potential and creative idea expression.” The result showed that employees perceive as creative were not perceived as good leaders. The same is true in the United States. However, in research people expressing creative ideas are more accepted as leaders if they are also charismatic. Unfortunately this research fed the creative ideas to people with  presented them in a highly charismatic manner and those whose acted in a more staid manner. Both groups were acting, and the ideas presented by them were the same. The control environment in which research studies are performed makes it hard to determine how creativity personality traits and charisma actually interact. [4]

Research on creative people almost never mentions charisma. Most indicate people like the ones that observed by Martinsen, who “are obstinate and find faults and flaws in ideas and people.” They are more concerned about what they achieve rather than how much others like them. So employees may like leaders who exhibit charisma and businesses may demand leaders who are creative. But the chances of getting both are very rare.


[1] Kern, F. (2010,  May 18)  What Chief Executives Really Want. Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved Jan 13, 2014 from
[2] BI Norwegian Business School (2013, April 2). The hunt for the creative individual. Science Daily. Retrieved January 11, 2014, from­/releases/2013/04/130402091133.htm
[3] van Knippenberg, D., van Knippenberg, B., De Cremer, D., & Hogg, M. A. (2004). Leadership, self, and identity: A review and research agenda. The Leadership Quarterly, 15(6), 825-856
 [4] Mueller, J. S. Goncalo, Jack. Kamdar, Dishan (2011) Recognizing Creative Leadership: Can Creative Idea Expression Negatively Relate to Perceptions of Leadership Potential. Cornell University ILR School.  Retrieved 2014, Jan 13 from
This entry was posted in Creativity, Group psychology, Leadership. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Creativity and Charisma

  1. knlistman says:

    Reblogged this on Write about what? and commented:

    Charisma and creativity–what is the connection?

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