Helping someone become more creative isn’t always easy. This is especially true in certain industries where being creative is almost seen as something negative. Businesses and business leaders have become so set in their ways that they don’t want to change. However, that path often leads to stagnation, which in turn leads to the business quickly being surpassed by competitors who value creativity. This is why it’s so important that you value your employees’ creative skills and help them grow those skills.
Creativity is at the core of innovation, and any business that wants to succeed has to be ready to replace traditional methods with innovative ones when the time is right. To that end, here are some ways you can lead your employees to enhance their creativity.
Get Rid of the Bland Office Environment
It’s hard to be creative when you’re surrounded by four white walls and harsh fluorescent lights all day. While your office should look professional, there are ways you can add a creative touch. Many employees now like to work in common areas or in collaborative spaces. These spaces provide great opportunities for ideas to be passed back and forth. While some employees may still want their own private office space for some tasks, having a collaborative work area is also useful.
You can also add some unique pieces of art to your work environment, too, rather than the cliché motivational posters or other bland décor. One great way of acquiring this artwork is to purchase some pieces from local artists. This helps your local economy and local artisans while also adding a unique look to your office. Surrounded by these creative pieces, your employees may find their own creative juices flow a little better.
If you encourage employees to be more creative, they will be. Some may have worked for people who don’t particularly like ideas that are too far out of the box. They may have stated several times that they prefer doing things the way they have always been done. Other employees may be very hesitant to bring their new ideas to the table. They may not be certain if these ideas would be welcome or, as new or young employees, if it’s their place to offer creative ideas.
Make certain everyone knows that creative solutions are definitely welcomed. More than that, anyone who has an idea for doing something different should bring it to you. Employees have to feel that their creative input in welcome, even if their ideas turn out to not work as they thought.
Provide Training and Learning Opportunities
One way of encouraging your employees to be creative is to give them opportunities to learn just how to do so. Offering training seminars and other learning opportunities is one way to do this. These opportunities can be anything from a lecture on creativity to a hands-on art lesson. You might be surprised at how doing unrelated creative exercises can help employees learn how to be innovative in their own work.
Another way of providing training is to bring in guest speakers. Training sessions from expert conference speakers can provide your employees with a wide range of creative approaches and methods. These speakers are often creative experts who have traveled the world observing how different cultures approach creativity. They bring the best of these methods to your employees, providing them with the tools they need to be truly innovative and creative at work.
Being cooped up in the office day after day may eventually make even the most creatively decorated space seem dull. That’s why it’s a good idea to take your team outdoors every now and then. Go on a company retreat or nature hike. Have a company sports team. Simply move a meeting outdoors if you can. A change of environment can work wonders, especially if it seems like your team is stuck on something. Often, focusing on something completely unrelated for a day gives the subconscious time to work problems out.
While creative ideas can be incredibly innovative and change the face of the industry you’re in, not all creative ideas are so successful. Some are going to fail. In fact, many of your innovative ideas won’t work. That’s okay. Teach your employees to accept failure as a lesson, not as the end result. Failure provides you with new information that you can use to adjust your approach. It’s not the end of a creative endeavor but rather simply a short stop along the road to creating something truly innovative.
Assemble a Diverse Team
A team comprised of those who all have the same skills and background is likely to not be as creative as one with diverse team members. Employees who attended different universities, come from different states or countries, and have had different experiences growing up will all bring a different point of view to the table. This is perfect for developing new ideas since these different perspectives will allow people to see different issues with the idea.
Demonstrate Creativity Yourself
Let your employees see that you have creative ideas and thoughts yourself. Discuss these ideas openly in meetings and individually. Let your employees see your creative process. This includes showing them your failures so they see how you handle failing. By showing that you’re creative, too, and that failure won’t stop you, you’ll be leading by example.
Provide Flexible Schedules if Possible
Your business may not always be able to allow employees to work flexible work schedules, but it’s a great benefit when it’s possible. By allowing employees to come in an hour or two later each day and leave later, you give them the flexibility they may need to get their children to work or deal with health issues.
You may also unleash their creativity. Some people simply aren’t wired to be morning people. By giving them an extra hour or so in the morning, they may arrive at work much more rested and ready to tackle the day.
These are just a few of the ways you can help your employees become more creative. By harnessing that creativity, you can move your business forward, leaving stagnant competitors behind.
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