Bossy mothers stifle creativity, says study. But what about bossy managers…?

8 Feb

How creative do you feel when your boss is hovering over you, asking you to move something this way or that? How inspired do you feel when your boss rips your work apart? How empowered do you feel when it’s clear that it’s her way or the highway?

womaneer child creativity

Just as children should be allowed to guide their own play, so managers shouldn’t stifle their workers’ creativity (pic credit:

Yep, I can hear that creative spark fizzling out and whimpering at the mere suggestion of being micro-managed. And yet that’s what happens to children whose mothers want to choreograph their every move – even when they’re happily playing.

Research by the University of Missouri quoted in a story on Yahoo! Lifestyle, Bossy mums do more harm than good, says that ‘helicopter mothers’ who hover over their children just bring out negative feelings in their kids.

What child wants her mother to give explicit guidelines on how to play dollies or make-believe? Obviously the child will give in to the higher ‘authority’ that the mother represents, and begin to doubt her own abilities and resolve. The negativity is eased if the mother is as warm as she is controlling, as the child perceives she’s being cared for. But just being directive on its own makes the child feel the mother is taking over.

I think all bossy, controlling managers looking to boost creativity, motivation and productivity among their staff should take note.


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