The Secret Danger of Hiring Creative People

Writing on this topic is probably shooting myself in the foot, considering I’m a creative, being both a writer and an artist. But, what can I say curiosity got the better of me, so here goes nothing and I apologize before-hand to my creative brethren. These are the secret dangers of hiring creative people.


Of course, I’m going to talk about the benefits of having creative people in your employ before I talk about all the negative, nasty stuff. What do Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson all have in common? Yep, you guessed it: creativity. Creative people are risk takers, innovators, and although some of their ideas aren’t feasible and over ambitious, most of them come to redefine their respective industries.

Having a creative person amongst your ranks can help you approach problem divergently, cultivate growth and development in the company…and let’s be honest they’re a lot more fun to have around than corporate stuffed shirts. Now that I’ve said my shpeel let’s get to the nitty gritty.

Creativity and…

Ok, so here’s where the dirty nasty comes in. Creative people have a tendency to play the system otherwise known as bending the rules or being dishonest. It kind of makes sense though, all their lives creative people have been forced to live in a system and establishment that sees no logic in what they find the most logical; imagination and creativity. According to this Harvard Business Review article, dishonesty isn’t necessary directly correlated with creativity and creative individuals, it’s more a result of employers venerating creativity and creating a feeling of entitlement.

Aha! See it isn’t the creative’s fault it’s their managers! No, but honestly due to their creative thinking they approach and can rationalize dishonesty better than conventional thinkers. Also, another contributing factor is that creative people often receive preferential behavior from management. After all, they are the people that come up with the ideas that help the company and more often than not make the company money.

How Do You Fix It

As I mentioned above, creativity is most likely to be associated with dishonesty when creativity is rare, and the creative person receives special treatment. But, reinforcing the idea that the entire team or even company (such as Apple for example) is creative can curtail dishonesty, because creativity becomes commonplace and thus diminishes the feeling of entitlement. If you see that your Creative Cathy is still feeling above everyone (including the law), try cultivating the idea and practice that everyone can be creative and it’s not the inherent skill many perceive it to be. Try engaging conventional thinkers in brain-storming sessions where they are encouraged to share their ideas without judgment, more often than not creativity is quelled by fear of failure and judgment.

Do you know any other reasons it might be bad to hire creative people? Let us know in the comment section below.