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Do Creatives Make Poor Leaders?


Is there a negative bias against creatives as leaders? According to new research, yes. This bias is because of the seeming dissonance between our ideas of a typical creative person and a typical leader.

“Unconsciously, we assume that someone who is creative can’t be a good leader, and as a result, any evidence of creativity can diminish a candidate’s perceived leadership potential,” writes Heidi Grant Halvorson for So creative workers, who might have just the perspective needed to innovate, often aren’t given the opportunity to lead in the first place. A study by Jennifer Mueller, Jack Goncalo and Dishan Kamdar, all organizational psychologists, revealed a negative correlation between leadership potential and creativity — at least, according to the responses of 300 employees.

What can creative leaders do to combat the bias during, say, the interview process? Halvorson recommends they prepare to share evidence of their leadership skills, and emphasize your potential as a leader.

Creatives, have you ever encountered bias during the interview process?

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(Photo credit: Vancouver Film School/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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