Control Is Kryptonite To Creativity by Paul Kaye


by Paul Kaye

PSR Contributor

February 27, 2018



You know how frustrating it is when you’re driving and there’s someone sitting in the back seat, wincing and groaning as you manoeuvre through traffic. They’re barking orders about which way to go, and when to move over into other lanes. There are many managers who act the same way in their organizations. They are constantly watching over their employees, telling them what to do and how to do it. This type of micromanagement is disheartening for the employee. Not to mention, it gives them no opportunity to create new ideas and approaches if they aren’t given the space to experiment.

Micromanagement is all about control. It is the act of controlling how an employee performs specific tasks or their role. It does immense harm to an organization. It implies a lack of trust between the manager and the employee and a lack of faith in the employee’s ability to do their job. Micromanaging breeds frustration, wastes time and ultimately kills team morale. Why can’t managers see that?

Control Is Kryptonite To Creativity!

Creativity is the driving force behind new products, stand out ideas, improved efficiencies and problem solving. Creativity is the edge your organization needs to remain competitive and to grow. Creativity can only exist when people are trusted, free of judgment and encouraged to experiment.

To foster a creative environment you need to inject some freedom. People have to know they are free to break convention and take risks. They need to be given space to formulate different thinking. Most importantly, they need to be allowed to make mistakes and fail. When failure happens – and it will – give people the time they need to study the failure so they can make improvements.

Creativity Is Not Doing Things The Way They Have Been Done Before!

Creativity comes from giving employees freedom. It’s about giving people the space to achieve their objectives in a way that fits them. As a manager your role is to set the vision and goals and then to support people as they pursue those goals in a way that makes sense to them.

To foster creativity managers need to stop:

  • Trying to be right all the time. It’s out-dated to think that just because you are the manager, you know everything. Winning today is about hiring great people, encouraging them to share their ideas and going with the solution that makes the best sense, no matter where it comes from.
  • Needing to have the final say. This follows the need to be right all the time. Managers sometimes want to have final sign off on everything before anything can move forward. This halts momentum and creates the tendency amongst employees to “please the boss” rather than the customers. Managers should set the goals and the timelines, and then empower people to deliver without the need to check in all the time.
  • Being involved in decisions that don’t require them. Managers who think they are responsible for making all the decisions in their organization breed a culture of frustration; a culture they often don’t know exists. Managers should be constantly asking, “What decisions do I no longer need to make?” Delegating responsibility to others to make important decisions creates a sense of empowerment among the team and freedom for people to find their own path to the goal.
  • Treating everyone the same. Managers who set policies about working hours, stress over organograms and demand lots of reports fail to maximize their employees. Managers today need to allow for flexibility amongst their employees; people have different priorities and approaches. If you embrace what each employee needs to be successful, you’ll encourage more creativity into your organization.
  • Trying to find consensus. It’s important to gather information and input before making decisions. Trying to please everyone and talking ideas to death before making a decision isn’t a recipe for success. Consensus will dilute winning ideas. Creativity comes with risk. Seek input and then choose the most exciting and rewarding approach. Accept that not everyone will agree; that’s a good thing!

Ultimately, managers have to be willing to relinquish control and the way they think things should be done in order to build an innovative business. The only question that should matter to a manager is, “Are my employees meeting expectations and producing the work they are supposed to?” There is no benefit to hiring great people and then controlling their every move. Empower them to be great. Stop hiding behind the hierarchy. You may not be the smartest person on the team. You may not have all the answers. That doesn’t matter; you are there to help the organization find success. You are not there to control everything, but instead to serve those you have hired. Help them find creative solutions to your customer’s problems, and your business will grow.


Control is kryptonite to creativity… and creativity is essential for growth!


Paul Kaye is Vice President, Product and Talent Development for Rogers in Canada.  Paul spends his days working with stations and talent across all formats with a sole focus on helping improve performance and growing the business.  Prior to being at Rogers Paul held the role of National Talent Development Director for Newcap Radio and also a Group Programming role in England.  Paul is a certified coach and is passionate about helping individuals, teams and organizations reach their greatest potential, which is the fuel behind his other project The Talent Lab. Paul lives in Toronto with his wife, 2 dogs and a cat – life is never quiet!  You can reach Paul at **@th**********.co





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