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Jerks Can Be Creativity Killers, Alright

by Mark Graban on July 2, 2012 · 0 comments

best suggestion box 225x300 Jerks Can Be Creativity Killers, Alright leanSaw this in the most recent Fast Company:  Is Your Manager A Creativity Killer? If the manager is something like a case study from the book The No A**hole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t, then the answer is probably yes.

Norm Bodek always teaches that everybody is creative… we just get it drummed out of us by school and the workplace. As Dr. Deming taught, intrinsic motivation can only go DOWN over time… an organization can only hope to  not de-motivate people and I’d assume there’s a  corollary  that you can only avoid making people less creative – you can’t make them more creative.

The three short stories in the FC piece illustrate why.

The story starts with some delicious data:

A recent study shows that 64% of bosses say they inspire creativity; just 41% of their employees agree.

In the three short case studies:

  1. You have a manager, described as “an ass,” whose behavior (shouting and browbeating) doesn’t live up their inspirational quote about “creativity takes courage.”
  2. A manager who gives a pep talk about brainstorming big ideas… and then violates basic brainstorming rules by shouting down every idea.
  3. An organization with an online suggestion box where the manager would read “the stupidest ones” to a friend over the phone. Yup, that will kill an improvement program.

How can leaders be that unaware of the impact of their behavior on their employees and their organizations?


Mark Graban 2011 Smaller Jerks Can Be Creativity Killers, Alright leanAbout LeanBlog.org: Mark Graban is a consultant, author, and speaker in the “lean healthcare” methodology. Mark is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as the new Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. Mark is also the VP of Innovation and Improvement Services for KaiNexus.


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