No matter what type of business you’re in, creativity should be a part of your everyday practices. New ideas or unexpected combinations of ideas, can help you grow your brand, create hot new products and services, get more referrals, entice investors, and ultimately lead to increased sales!
But for many leaders, figuring out how to foster creativity in the workplace can be very challenging. If you’re having trouble generating an environment of creativity, here are some simple, yet effective tips that will help you to accomplish your goal.
- Be supportive
The first step to encouraging creativity in the workplace is to be supportive.
People need to feel that their creative ideas will not only be heard, but also encouraged, listened to, and rewarded. They need to feel safe enough to take risks in their thinking and suggestions, and know that they won’t be penalized. Risk taking is a necessary part of creative thinking.
- Encourage interaction between departments
In large businesses in particular, it can be easy for different departments to become segregated and shut off from each other, making it difficult for employees to fully appreciate how the business functions as a whole.
Encouraging members of different departments to come together can help your team to break out of their silos, be inspired by new ways of thinking, and discover new ways that departments can work together to make processes more efficient or effective.
- Always look for new ways of approaching projects
Even though the ‘tried and true’ approach often feels like the safer option, sometimes we find ourselves doing things ‘the old way’ when there’s a better, more successful method out there. It’s always a good idea to look for new and different ways to approach a task, and in doing so you’ll lead by example and encourage your team to do the same!
- Get out of the office
Creativity and innovation doesn’t always come when we’re restricted to the same space every day. Get out into new environments and encourage your team to do the same. A refreshing walk, lunch at a local haunt, or even working from home can be enough to feel renewed and inspired.
- Tolerate and encourage learning by mistakes
Innovative thinking and new ideas inevitably come with a certain degree of risk taking. It’s important to embrace this rather than be afraid of it!
When your team takes risks and get things wrong, be sure to let them know that it’s okay, and encourage them to learn from it. If you’re too quick to berate the team for ideas that go wrong, they’ll be unlikely to put forward future ideas for fear of failing again.
Focus on constructive criticism and ongoing learning. Your team will quickly figure out that with some carefully calculated risk, their new ideas can still come to life and make a positive difference.
- Don’t be controlling
A controlling leader is not one that stimulates creativity! Be sure to influence rather than control, particularly when it comes to ideas. Don’t push forward with your idea over your team’s, particularly if they don’t seem to willingly agree that yours is the best.
Don’t keep throwing new ideas their way either – give them a few suggestions and encourage them to come up with their own. By being open and welcoming creative ideas from others, your team will be influenced to do the same.
- Reward innovative thinking
It isn’t always part of a person’s role to come up with new ideas, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them. Give them an incentive to speak up about new ideas by implementing a rewards system to show how much you appreciate their creativity.
Bonus tip: Follow Barefoot Brainstorming for more brainstorming tips and tricks