What personality types do you think will lead to finding creative ideas, proposing actionable solutions and ultimately delivering great results?

A) An easy to work with yet no nonsense deadline-oriented team leader OR

B) One that does not enforce specific deadlines and leaves a lot of wiggle room for his or her team members

If you chose A then you would be wrong according to research conducted by Wall Street Journal. Here’s why.

Creative Ideas, Best Decisions and Mental Accounting - Source: The Wall Street Journal

The threat of a deadline makes people less open to new suggestions,  creative ideas and different approaches. The stress of a deadline will lead to faster action but may also often result in worse outcomes.

The thinking and priority shifts from looking at the big picture or finding the best way to solve a problem to let’s just get it done, regardless of whether the approach that is being taken is the best path forward. Conventional wisdom is that we try to solve problems by drawing on our logical and rational thinking. But studies show that the most creative ideas and the best solutions are actually formed in the emotional and intuitive parts of our brain.

Creative thinking does take time and focus, but it also requires patience and the freedom to procrastinate. New research backs this up, proving the more time we have to consider a problem or idea, the more critically we think and the better decisions we make. – Taylor Mallory Holland

Therefore, when you are faced with a new challenge and the more unknowns there are, the most effective strategy is to not impose a tight deadline. Activities and techniques that let people’s minds wander, foster creative ideas, inspire them to think differently, and let them experiment are more likely to lead to finding great solutions.


Thinking Creatively: How Deadlines Encourage Inside-the-Box Ideas

The Inner Workings of the Executive Brain