Attitude is King to Creativity

How does being a positive leader help your team develop innovation?


Chris Barez-Brown, author and creativity guru, talks about the ability of positive thinking when it comes to creative problem solving. Positivity and creativity, explains Chris, can be vital to ensuring organizational success.

We all know the leaders who suck the energy out of the room the minute they walk in, and we also know the leaders who we would want to be around even in a crisis. Watch Chris explains that positivity helps us dream up bigger ideas and analyze them in terms of strategy, innovation alignment and timing.

A key component to creative leadership is positivity. You know there are some leaders who when they walk into the room they suck the very hope from it. And then there are others who can really make a disaster into a party. Now I know which one I want to play with. Now positive leaders, I think, have an unfair advantage because they naturally bring talent and energy towards them, which gives them more of a chance to win.

Now what I do not suggest for one second is that we should have rose tinted spectacles and that we should only see the great stuff because that's rubbish. We need critical, analytical thinking to be good. However, when we've spotted what the issues are, we need to turn positive in solving them. Positivity is really important for numerous reasons. Recent research has indicated we're more insightful if we are more positive, which makes perfect sense. If we're being critical all the time we can't see the possibility. Whereas if we're being positive we can see how things can link up. But not only that, it's going to help us have better ideas and grow baby thoughts into something we can do in the future.

Now the way our brain is developed means that we have a bit of a challenge with this. Our brain has developed only by 10% in the last 50,000 years, which means our brain is really designed to be a caveman or a cavewoman. Now a caveman is good at one thing in particular, and that is scanning the horizon for danger. So what we have in our brain is a built-in negativity bias. We look for problems and danger all the time. Now that used to be fantastic when we were a caveman, because when a saber tooth tiger was around we'd need to spot that danger and use fear to get away.

Unfortunately now, without saber tooth tigers on the roam, we use the negativity on new ideas and new thoughts, and new possibility. We will natural say, "That won't work here. That costs too much money. That's dangerous," or my favorite, "They won't sign that one off." People who aren't even in the room are killing the idea. So we need to use positivity to overcome that. To say okay, it might not work for these reasons but how could it work? How could I make that better? How could I grow it into something useful? And that's why positivity is so important.

To emphasize that point, there's a story about a guy who was walking in the English countryside. And as so often happens, annoyingly, in England, up popped a genie. And the genie said, "I will grant you any wish of your heart's desire, if you can tell me out of these three identical green shoots, which one is the weed, which one is the rose, and which one is the oak tree." So the guy desperately wants to get this right. So what he does is very smart. He waits. He waters them, he gets sunlight on them until they grow big enough so he can say, "Well, that is obviously a weed. This one has petals and thorns. It's a rose. And that will be the oak tree."

Now that's what positivity does for you. It helps you grow your ideas big enough so you can judge them when they're large enough to fight on their own. Without that, creativity will never happen. Without that, ideas will never flourish in your business. Positivity not only is a key leadership asset, but it's a way of making sure that magic grows around you everyday.

Chris Barez-Brown

Chris Barez-Brown has been unleashing the creative potential of worldwide organizations including Nike, Coca Cola, Diageo, The Gates Foundation, Sony and WPP. He is a master of metamorphosis, challenging and transforming businesses th...

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