I love this article. I shared it last week and I still keep coming back to it.
Creative people sometimes operate most effectively on the outside of the collective. They often find themselves rejected by the group, and at times, they take the initiative and reject the group themselves. They may seem, at times, to be more entranced by their own thoughts than whatever problem the collective is trying to solve. Isn’t that the world of the creative geek?
There’s increasing evidence that a sense of social rejection actually fuels creativity, which makes things even harder for a leader trying to inculcate some sort of esprit de corps.
This isn’t true for everyone. It does hold true, though, for those with a so-called “independent self-concept”—those who don’t need the group to feel whole and self-confident. The authors write that “for individuals with an independent self-concept, rejection will reinforce their desire to differentiate themselves from others, and that mind-set should, in turn, lead to more creative outcomes.”
Creatives aren’t necessarily loners. They still need social validation, they just need it from other creatives, not the teams they work with. This is the classic, hipster “cooler than you” mentality.
Even if you’re not dealing with hipsters, most successful creatives have long ago come to accept (and thrive with) the notion that they don’t fit in. This makes it hard to manage them because they don’t respond to the normal forms of social pressures and team building.