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Why You Need a Jazz Musician on Your Workplace Team

Why You Need a Jazz Musician on Your Workplace Team

Start a management degree at American Public University.

By Bjorn Mercer
Program Director, Communication, Humanities, Music, Philosophy, Religion and World Languages Programs, American Public University

Every team needs equilibrium. To have a well-balanced, high-performing team, you need different personalities to balance and complement each other’s skills and competencies.

Common personalities that populate teams typically include:

  • The analytical thinker
  • The risk analyst
  • The socialite
  • The editor
  • The inclusive collaborator
  • The coach
  • The workhorse
  • The creative

The creative member of the team in this sense is someone who enjoys using his or her creativity to benefit the organization. That person doesn’t necessarily belong to a creative team such as a design, marketing or animation team.

Who Is a Creative?

Everyone can be creative and come up with fresh, practical ideas. If you believe in your creativity and foster it, then you are creative.

In fact, there are people who have dedicated a good portion of their life to exercising their creativity. Team performance is enhanced by these people, which is why every team needs a jazz musician.

Jazz musicians, like classical and pop musicians, spend years dedicating themselves to their art and that dedication is the source of their proficiency. When jazz musicians attain proficiency, they learn how to play standard music in atypical ways and do it repeatedly.

The Benefits of Hiring a Creative for Your Team

When you are looking to hire for your team, consider someone with a creative background. That could be someone with a degree in music, art or theater, a person whose creative focus is now their full-time pastime rather than their full-time job.

Someone who has spent years focusing on something creative can add a great deal of problem solving and creativity to your team. As Harvard neuroscientist Roger Beaty said, “Training to be receptive to the unexpected in a specific area of expertise can increase creativity in general.”

Are People Born Creative?

Are people born with talent that just makes them creative? Or does creativity develop as people age and learn?

As with most things, it is a little bit of both. I do not subscribe to journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule. It’s been popular for many years to subscribe to the theory that the most accomplished violinists put in an average of ten thousand hours of practice by the time they are 20 years old.

However, I do agree with authors Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool that “becoming accomplished in any field in which there is a well-established history of people working to become experts requires a tremendous amount of effort exerted over many years.”

Start a management degree at American Public University.

About the Author

Dr. Bjorn Mercer is a Program Director at American Public University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Missouri State University, a master’s and doctorate in music from the University of Arizona, and an MBA from University of Phoenix. He writes about leadership, management, and why the humanities and liberal arts are critical to career success. Dr. Mercer also writes children’s music.



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