Unleash your team's creativity

Have you ever used your knife and fork in the opposite hands, just for fun? Or have you tried to walk down a familiar path with your eyes closed? These behaviours can help spur creativity, which in turn will inspire and energise you.

Breaking out of habits helps to wake up the brain. Science actually shows this: our brains become so efficient that neural patterns start to fire when prompted by a repetitive behaviour. When we break a behavioural pattern, we begin using different parts of our brain.

When the workplace becomes a set of habitual behaviours, it becomes complacent. Employees are uninspired, unmotivated and even bored.

People who are creative are independent, inquisitive, confident, determined and open-minded. The creative organisation pioneers change. Creativity turned into action leads to innovation, which is what drives a business forward.

Genius is made, not born.

We all have the capacity to be creative. The notion that creative geniuses are born with special gifts is a myth. Researchers at Exeter University conducted a study into excellence in the arts, maths and sports. They wanted to know if reaching high levels of ability required innate potential. Their conclusion was that outstanding performance is determined by opportunities, encouragement, training, motivation, and practice.

So, if you manage others, how can you turn your workers into creative geniuses? There are ways that you can encourage creativity. Some suggestions are listed below.

Seven tips for fostering creativity with your people:

  1. Remove barriers: Leaders should not be afraid to lose control and power over to others. Allow employees to challenge you and avoid judgement. Employees need to feel comfortable to express new ideas.
  2. Empower people: Delegate responsibility and decision-making power to your employees. Allow employees to work autonomously without intrusive monitoring.
  3. Reward creativity: Recognise smart risks and regard mistakes as learning experiences.
  4. Encourage learning: Provide opportunities and support for employees to attend training sessions or study external courses.
  5. Communicate: Hold regular meetings and brainstorming sessions to discuss ideas. Take notes and follow-up on past discussions.
  6. Provide resources: Give employees the tools to create. Set up a library and constantly add new material. Use toys, puzzles and games to stir thinking. In meetings, brainstorm ideas with butchers paper, post-it notes, or a whiteboard.
  7. Diversify: Seek and listen to a wide range of opinions and expose employees to new experiences.