Sarcasm leads to creativity.  Creativity is a needed trait in most leadership positions today.

From INC.com:

What did the researchers find? 

Sarcasm, it turns out, is a pretty good mental workout. “To create or decode sarcasm, both the

 expressers and recipients of sarcasm need to overcome the contradiction (i.e., psychological distance) between the literal and actual meanings of the sarcastic expressions. This is a process that activates and is facilitated by abstraction, which in turn promotes creative thinking.

The result was “those in the sarcasm conditions subsequently performed better on creativity tasks than those in the sincere conditions or the control condition.

I have had the opportunity to assess a myriad of leaders over the past two decades and have seen the value of creativity firsthand.  Creative leaders are consistently able to react to changing market conditions, develop new solutions and move with an easy freedom not often found in more rigid, analytical leaders.  This leadership agility is inspiring to teams and mission critical to guiding teams through modern day markets.

A study from Psychological Science confirmed the importance of creativity in leaders:

In the new study, Huang, Krasikova, and Liu hypothesized that leaders’ confidence in their creativity would be one way to inspire greater creativity within the broader organization. That is, managers confident in their own creative capabilities engage in more behaviors that encourage creativity in the people around them.

…The results confirmed that confident leaders were better at encouraging creativity in their followers, particularly when teams worked closely together. Confident leaders were more likely to encourage other people’s creative ideas by establishing a culture of receptive to creativity, listening to new ideas, trying new things, and offering praise.

Creative leaders foster creativity…seems more than logical.  The key to find the leaders with the right blend of motivations and aptitudes to support their creative bend.  These traits can include a leadership motivation, a drive for gaining knowledge, a supportive communication style and more.
I have one customer who asks each candidate to tell him a joke in the interview.  He said he doesn’t even care if it is funny, but that he values their ability to switch gears from the corporate interview and tell a joke.  There is a spark of creativity in what he is looking to qualify in candidates.  If the joke is sarcastically funny, it is more valuable than a dud.  Sarcasm, in an interview, is extremely difficult to pull off.  If you adopt this approach, and experience a sarcastically funny candidate, I would recommend you make note.  That candidate may have significant creative leadership potential.

I’m not kidding.  From the Harvard Business Review:

Thanks to our smartphones, tablets, and laptops, it’s easy to be working all the time. But our devices can actually make us less productive by interfering with an important mental process: daydreaming. To be effective, our brains need opportunities to be “off,” which is hard when we’re constantly taking in new information through our devices. And research has found that letting our minds wander facilitates creativity and long-term thinking. If we’re facing a challenge that needs new ideas, we’re more likely to find some if our minds drift away from the problem for a while. So the next time your mind starts to wander, let it. Don’t check your favorite website or your email. Instead, walk to a window and think about the people and cars going by, close your eyes and notice the sounds around you, or go for a short walk. And remember: leave your device behind.

That is how teambuilding occurs according to the Tuckman model and I agree.  Assessing entire sales teams provides me an inside view at teams and how they function and this model plays out consistently.

This article covers many interesting topics with a focus on creativity killers.  Creativity is difficult to measure or assess, but there are things a sales leader can do to help foster creativity.  From the article (emphasis mine):

It’s easy to look at models like that and think that cohesion and friendliness should be the ultimate goal. But surprisingly, when it comes to creativity, the best teams fight a little (or even a lot). Structured, task-oriented conflict can be a signal that new ideas are being submitted to the group and tested. If you team always agrees, that might suggest that people are self-censoring their ideas, or worse, not generating any new ideas at all. Research suggests that teams that forgo traditional brainstorming rules and debate over ideas as they’re presented end up with more and better ideas. As a leader, it may seem like your job is to break up and fights, but don’t be afraid to act as a referee instead — allowing the fight over ideas to unfold, but making sure it stays fair and doesn’t get personal.

Exactly.  The best sales teams I assess have a little bit of fight to them.  They are not cookie-cutter clones that generate some sycophantic affirmation to every new idea offered up in a team meeting.  No, instead they tend to have a rollicking good go regarding new ideas.  They test them, challenge them, argue about them.

The important component to this “storming” team is a sales leader who actively referees the discussion.  These leaders are open, thoughtful and decisive in handling brainstorming sessions.  I have had the luxury of sitting through these meetings at customer conference rooms and I am always amazed to watch a strong leader empower his or her team to challenge the status quo and, at times, attack sacred cows of the organization.

If you are looking to develop your creativity-fostering skills, I would strongly encourage you to read the entire article.

Sometimes stories come along that just land in the wheelhouse.  This article would be one of them – Study of the Day: Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity.

Hello.  I don’t need a study to tell me this fact.  In case you didn’t know:

Compared to a relatively quiet environment (50 decibels), a moderate level of ambient noise (70 dB) enhanced subjects’ performance on the creativity tasks, while a high level of noise (85 dB) hurt it. Modest background noise, the scientists explain, creates enough of a distraction to encourage people to think more imaginatively.

Which leads to this assertion:

The next time you’re stumped on a creative challenge, head to a bustling coffee shop, not the library. As the researchers write in their paper, “Instead of burying oneself in a quiet room trying to figure out a solution, walking out of one’s comfort zone and getting into a relatively noisy environment may trigger the brain to think abstractly, and thus generate creative ideas.”

Now add a large dose of highly-caffeinated black liquid and you have a perfect working environment.