While you might think you don’t have the potential for creativity with your current team, you may very well already have on staff the game changers, innovators, and superstar team members that you need.
Have you ever considered that the problem may be you? Without even realizing it, you could be stifling the most valuable assets in your office.
Beware of blatant acceptance
You’re faced with a problem. Everyone is sitting around the table throwing around solutions. Are you writing them all down? You might be surprised to know that you shouldn’t be.
Instead of placating your employees by taking note of everyone’s proposed fixes, turn them all into small discussions. Allow everyone to explore the possibilities. Encouraging people to think and argue for or against a decision will spark creativity and allow you to see all sides of an issue before committing to an irreversible choice. If someone has a suggestion, make them explain it.
But also, don’t be too quick to reject ideas–this is a double-edged sword. While you don’t want to passively accept everything that comes your way, you certainly don’t want to reject everything either. The reality is that you’re probably very used to your ways, and this creates a bias for you. You may feel quick to strike down ideas that don’t fit in with your vision, and doing this can cause your work to suffer.
If someone presents an idea to you that seems really off the wall, instead of immediately writing it off, you should listen and ask questions. No one is going to come to you with brilliant, innovative ideas if they feel like you’re going to dismiss them on the spot.
Is everyone getting enough breaks?
You know what one of the most surefire ways to kill creativity is? Sticking someone in front of a screen for hours and making them stay focused on a limited task.
Make sure everyone gets a breather. Encourage your employees to go for short walks to blow off some steam. Everyone needs to take fifteen minutes every now and then to wipe their mental slate if you want them to feel inspired.
Be careful not to suffocate employees
Micromanaging your employees’ every move, overworking them, making time off difficult, and placing an inordinate amount of pressure on how you want things done all qualify as suffocating. If people feel pressured to stick to your exact guidelines, and they’re made to feel as though they’re nothing more than cogs in your machine, nothing creative is going to spring from their minds.
Loosen the reins a little bit. Allow people to figure things out on their own sometimes. Let them leave early once in a while, and encourage them to take an extra day off. Creativity, happiness, and freedom all stem from the same place.
Open communication encourages creativity
You need to keep the communication lines open between you and your employees. They need to know they can talk to you about issues they’re having in the workplace, or standards you’ve set that they don’t like. If you’re able to take constructive criticism and compromise, you’ll be surprised how far the creativity of your employees will carry you.