You're Not As Creative As You Think

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If everyone were a creative genius at work, nothing would ever get done.
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Everyone can be a creative genius. Right?

In the workplace, that's a dangerous proposition, according to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, CEO of Hogan Assessments and professor of Business Psychology at University College London. Describing an article he wrote for the Harvard Business Review, Chamorro told Money Talking host Charlie Herman that to some degree, creativity levels are hard to change. And that's a good thing.

"Most people, as much as they may not like hearing this, have average creativity," he said.

There needs to be a diverse ecosystem at work made of people with varying degrees of creativity. Creative visions need to be executed, he said. If everyone's in his or her own head about creative ideas, nothing will ever get done. 

That said, there are still small ways to get a little more creative in your everyday tasks at work.

  1. Get feedback. We're not good at evaluating our own work. If you want to expand your mind, find a good critic. 
  2. Get training on creative thinking skills. The way to get more creative is to get away from the daily grind. Chamorro said mindfulness, taking walks, or switching tasks can help us get a new perspective on the task at hand.
  3. Read up. Chamorro said it might sound anti-creative to do a lot of research, but, he said, "You need to know the rules of the game in order to break them." Become an expert in a subject area to get a feel for what kinds of creative risks you should take.
  4. Follow your passions. If you're not excited about the work you do, you won't put enough energy into it to think creatively.

Bosses looking to make their employees think more creatively should assign tasks that tap their employees' interests, and they should also build teams with different kinds of minds: both great idea generators and skilled project managers.

"Creative teams that have too many people who are traditionally creative would never get anything done," Chamorro said.