Every team gets stuck in a rut sometimes, and our job as managers is to pull them out of that rut and get them back to finding creative solutions to the problems that inevitably crop up on a daily basis. The same thinking that got you in trouble will not get you out of it. You have to look at things from different angles and consider alternatives that you didn’t before.
So how do you do that? Here are five ways to encourage creativity in your team:
Ask Your Team What They Recommend
You never know what they’ll come up with. It could be the solution that you’ve been looking for for years but just didn’t know it. Every person looks at the world through their own lens of experience and that colors everything we see. We are also blind to what is right in front of us. That’s why every writer needs an editor.
Brainstorm With Your Team
Gather everyone together with in front of the whiteboard and just let loose. Remember the rules of brainstorming—nothing is too dumb to write down. I know of one organization that brainstorms on occasion and, inevitably, someone will shout out “peanut butter”. Peanut butter is almost never an appropriate answer to the brainstorming question but it always gets written down to honor the rules and to remind everyone that no answer is stupid during brainstorming.
Have Your Team Brainstorm Without You
I really like this one. No matter how good you think your relationship is with your team, their interaction with each other has a very different dynamic. This difference can often lead to some wonderful insights and breakthroughs. There are certain things that will never get said with you in the room. Think about your situation. I bet there are a lot of things you can talk about with your coworkers but not your boss. Believe it or not, your team is the same.
Change the Scenery
Looking at the same four walls and fluorescent lights can stifle the creativity of even the best of us. Take a field trip to gather intel on the problem at hand. Or just get out of the office for some “play” time—grab a beer, if that’s your thing, or take the team out to mini golf or go-cart racing. Even just getting together at Panera for lunch can stimulate the left side of the brain. Some of the best ideas come about during off-site meetings.
Hire a Diverse Workforce
If everyone in your office looks and talks the same, it’s no wonder their creativity is stifled. Where there is no interest, there is no creativity. We are social creatures and our human interactions are one of our most important ways of expressing ourselves. If everyone around us is expressing themselves the same way that we are, it’s boring and it hinders the creative process.
This is just a few to get you started. I’m sure there are many more that I haven’t listed. What do you do to encourage creativity in your team and to simplify management?