Do you think of yourself as a creative person? A lot of people do. But what does that really mean? Moreover, what are the characteristics of creativity in the context of work?
As a counselor who does a lot of career coaching, I’ve always been impressed with folks who can come up with novel solutions to complex problems.
In many ways, creative workers possess a “chip” that empowers them to think outside of the box. They tend to think divergently and consider alternatives to problems as opposed to having a one track one track mind.
What fuels creativity?
Research tells us that creativity itself stems from both fluid and crystallized intelligence (Dubrin, 2004). Let’s take a quick cook’s tour of what both items mean.
This is your raw processing abilities. In other words, how fast you can accurately take in new information and solve problems.
This is accumulated knowledge that increases as you age. Necessarily,, it goes hand in hand with experience.
But simply possessing high degrees of both types of intelligence does not automatically make a creative worker. In addition to the above, an individual also needs to have certain personality traits.
In the general sense, here are 7 of them:
1. Into creative expression
An intense preoccupation with a field of creative expression or discovery. This allows the person to pursue their interest areas for long stretches without becoming restless or bored.
2. Well developed sense of humor
For creative types, humor often manifests in witty comments, practical jokes, and various forms of playfulness. This is why some training programs get people to laugh to help release the imagination.
3. Risk takers and thrill seekers
Many creative types have a noticeable personality trait of risk taking and thrill-seeking. In short, they love finding imaginative solutions to problems because the process of “fixing” a given issue is thrilling.
4. Functions well in chaos
Believe it or not, creative workers function well in chaotic, dynamic environments. That’s because workers with this personality trait love being kept on their toes and are OK with uncertainty.
5. Tends to be introverted
While not true for all, many creative workers tend to be introverted. In healthy doses, isolation for them is a gift that allows the person to focus without being distracted by others.
Workers who are non-conformists place a high premium on autonomy and independence. They are not ones to seek validation or approval from a group or a supervisor. This, too, is a characteristic of creative workers.
7. Highly persistent
The more challenging a problem, the more the creative worker is drawn in. Because finding a solution requires intense focus, they have a “never give up” attitude that is nearly unshakable.
Obviously, the conditions must exist at the workplace for creativity to flourish. Feeling an emotional connection to the organizational mission is critical.
Passion for the task and intrinsic motivation also matter.
That said, organizational leaders would do well to foster environments that nurture creative types. These are the folks who will help move your business to the next level.
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Dubrin, A. (2004). Applying psychology: Individual and organizational effectiveness. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
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