Sparking creativity is one of the most important and most challenging responsibilities faced by any manager. It’s one thing to get people to work harder, faster, or longer, but how do you get them to be innovative, unexpected, and wholly original? It’s difficult, but experience has shown that it’s not impossible if you know how what kind of resources, environment, and prompts to provide your employees. Below are some tips and tricks to help you get started.
Ask Different Questions
As a manger, you are often directing rather than exploring. But one of the most effective ways to spark creativity is to lay out a goal or objective, and then involve your team in creating the map to get there. Instead of telling them what to do, ask thought provoking open-ended questions that invite contrasting opinions, spark discussion, and have no immediately obvious conclusion. In this way, you provide your employees with the time and space to be creative, while also signaling it’s something you value.
One of the biggest obstacles to creativity, especially in business environments, is that people fear they will be ridiculed or punished if their ideas are outside the box, in contradiction to the majority, or if they ultimately fail. If you want to get new ideas on the table, your employees have to know that they won’t face consequences for going against the grain. If you can stay positive, supportive, and patient, you will slowly create a culture that prizes creative thinking at every level, and in every decision.
Listen to New Voices
You might be getting the same ideas over and over because you are always asking the same people. In everything you do, strive for a diversity of input. Bring new members or consultants onto your team, rely on different research sources, look to other companies or industries, and generally be open to any and every kind of feedback, no matter where it comes from. Sometimes it only takes one new insight to inspire a paradigm shift.
Get Out of the Office
Offices are rarely conducive to the creative process. Worse still, spending day in and day out there can dull you and your employee’s ability to consider new ideas. That’s why simply getting up and going someplace else can have a powerful effect on your perspective. Make it a regular priority to go to a park, a coffee shop, a carnival, or anywhere else you think might provide a welcome change of scenery and get the creative juices flowing.
The last thing to consider is whether you have the right employees. Some people are simply more creative than others, and one bad apple might be holding back the innovative potential of your entire office. If you need to add someone new to your workforce, access a candidate pool brimming with creativity by partnering with JH Technical Services.