Creative thinking is an asset to a business. Employees who are able to think about problems in new and innovative ways are better able to solve them and also to recognize and seize opportunities when they arise. Today’s managers need to know how to create a workplace environment that fosters that creativity.
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Teach Managers to Encourage Creativity
The first step toward creating a workplace that fosters creativity is to teach managers how to encourage creative thinking in their workers and how to be more creative themselves. There are plenty of targeted business solutions for teaching industry leaders how to better understand their employees and how to help them flourish. Take advantage of them.
Many team leaders make the mistake of micromanaging their employees. While observation and follow-up are important aspects of effective leadership, micromanagement stifles creativity. Try to empower employees to solve their own problems by promoting experimentation and supporting the occasional failure.
Build a Diverse Team
Hiring managers often wind up seeking employees with similar skill sets and backgrounds. This is a mistake, as workers who are constantly surrounded by other similar points of view are unlikely to encounter constructive debate or new viewpoints in the workplace. Instead, create an environment that embraces diversity and try to build a company culture that feels more inclusive and open.
Give it Time
If every minute of employees’ shifts is taken up with rigid tasks, they won’t have any time for creative thinking. Try to give employees more flexibility in their scheduling and allot time for thinking outside the box. Only 30% of today’s employees say that they’re given time by their managers to be creative. Yet exceptionally creative thinkers like artists and writers say that good time management fosters creativity.
The most important projects that require the most thought shouldn’t be rushed. Employees should be given the time and space they need to think about the problems they’re facing and find innovative solutions. This is much easier when managers are willing to give them a little flexibility in terms of how they manage their time at work.
Schedule Brainstorming Groups
Try scheduling a brainstorming group for the project and ask employees to come up with a few creative ideas of their own to bring to the table. Team managers shouldn’t lead these brainstorming sessions. Instead, they should delegate the responsibility to a team member or even hire an outside facilitator who can help. If the team leader directs the discussion, it will discourage employees from sharing honest opinions and exercising their creative minds.
During these meetings, give employees time to come up with their own ideas. Leaders who take the reins will only discourage others from going against what they have to say. If they allow their employees to come up with their own ideas, they’ll be more likely to think them through fully and offer insight into how they can be implemented. Most employees are much more likely to enter in a creative debate with their fellow workers than they are with their managers.
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The Bottom Line
Fostering creativity in the workplace can help managers unleash their employees’ potential while simultaneously making workers feel more valued within their companies. It takes work, though, and most team leaders need help learning how to build a workplace environment that makes employees feel comfortable and welcome to share their views.