Do innovative team leaders play? Do innovative teams play with budgets and rules? Should a successful innovative team allow conflicts? Do the literature on small work groups and on teams present a different truth? Is leading an innovative team a paradox?
Leadership of innovative teams is an important subject in the world of innovation. As innovation research has, until now, focused on the creativity of individuals (the micro side), and on innovation within organisations (the macro side), this research is a welcome addition. Emphasising the social elements, Playing, Team Development and Leadership in Innovative Teams explores how teams function and gives new insights into leading an innovative team. Hohns research shows that leading an innovative team is a paradoxical challenge for a leader. On the one hand, a team needs time and space to create, freedom to take risks and to disregard procedures and rules. On the other hand, a team should work efficiently towards a goal within the constraints established by organisational resources and culture. It is the task of the leader to manage this paradox.
Two leadership modes, the generative and the focussing, are proposed to describe this paradoxical process of leading an innovative team. Good group dynamics allow team members to tolerate the tension when shifting between the generative and focusing modes. Having led these kinds of teams for more than twenty-five years, I can attest to this paradox and the use of the two modes of leadership introduced in this book.
Playing, Team Development and Leadership in Innovative Teams contains an excellent analysis of the differences between the scientific research of group dynamics and the pragmatic team literature. It also focuses on the psychology of playing and creativity and the creative climate of organisations. The conclusions are based on an inquiry into the experience of senior team leaders. Hohns analysis covers both the theoretical and practical sides of its subject.