Acknowledging the invaluable talent and qualities of your employees, which includes creativity and innovation, only brings greater success for everyone. Below explains why that is and the helpful ways to implement this healthy work environment.
Among the many qualities a company might seek in an employee, creativity and innovation rank among the vaguest. Yet once you understand the growth potential of working with someone who is flexible, forward-thinking, and built to think their way out of problems (rather than getting stuck on the limitations), you will quickly realize that these qualities are instrumental, especially to smaller organizations that need to quickly set themselves apart from the competition.
Yet in the wrong environment, creativity and innovation are swiftly stifled, and you’re left with talented workers who feel miserable and unable to live up to their fullest potential. By learning to harness and promote the creativity and innovation in each one of your best and brightest, you will be able to leverage an untapped resource of ideas for growth and development.
1. Offering Plenty of Space
Both figuratively and literally, giving an employee space can make a huge difference, given you trust them enough to provide them with the freedom needed to innovate.
Furthermore, office space also makes a huge difference – we often think better on our feet and require visual stimulus to keep us thinking. A cramped office space is not conducive towards productive and useful ideas at work. Instead, it will often serve to bring morale down.
Make sure that your coworkers have the physical and mental space needed to bring to the table the results you expect. Rather than trying to micromanage their every move, give them the opportunity to prove their worth and give them the freedom to prove it in a way they’re best able to.
2. Through Light and Sound
Having enough space isn’t the only thing – you’ll want the right space, too. The way you design an office is about more than simple aesthetic appeal. While that’s important as well, office design can have an impact on worker productivity. More than just a matter of floor plans, the decorations, design philosophies, and even light sources that you decide to rely on can have an impact on how your coworkers think and feel.
You don’t have to go full hog on an expensive office of your own, if it isn’t going to be feasible for your operation. There are plenty of coworking spaces that specialize in boosting creativity and productivity by incorporating modern design philosophies and blending technology with nature, natural light, and a pleasing balance between ambience, silence, and excited chatter.
3. Promoting Individuality
Teamwork is important but be careful not to promote groupthink. An effective business is composed of a team that disagrees respectfully and promotes healthy arguments. There’s a fine line between giving everyone enough room to possess an ego of their own and letting those egos clash to the detriment of the company.
Everyone’s contribution gets a chance to shine, without shutting down ideas because “that’s not how we do things here”. Balancing on that line takes true leadership skill, but if you can find a way to promote individuality without letting petty bickering get in the way of progress, you have a recipe for success.
4. Work-From-Anywhere and Flexible Schedules
A flexible schedule is more than just a blind leap of faith. You can give your workers mandatory weekly hours but give them the freedom to come in when they need to (and still be reachable over mobile at certain hours of the day).
Better yet, adopting a remote work policy that gives your employees the opportunity to work from home, from a café, from a coworking space, or from the office (or anywhere else) not only gives them the ability to freely choose where to go for their own creativity needs, but also gives you the ability to expand your space virtually and leverage technology to build teams that don’t always need to work in the same physical space to get things done.
5. Encourage Breaks
Taking a break a few times a day is not the sign of a lazy employee. Breaks are necessary – the human mind can only concentrate on a single task for so long, and if we don’t take a few minutes to get up out of our chairs and do something else than stare at a monitor, we’ll quickly find ourselves depleted and out of ideas.
It’s also a good idea for your creative employees to find ways to disrupt their routine, try new ideas, apply new methods of work and productivity, and avoid becoming complacent in their roles (especially if you want to foster out-of-the-box thinking).
6. Prove That Ideas Are Heard
You need to encourage your employees to go out of their way to invest substantial effort into your business. Part of that is just being genuine – genuinely believing in what you do every day and investing yourself in your company and leadership.
But part of it is proving to your workers that their input is valued, especially when it’s lavishly crafted and carefully planned. Reward your workers when they come forth with good ideas.
7. Give Room for Failure
Every success begins as a potential failure. Even great ideas fail if they occur in the wrong moment or miss a single component. Avoid shooting everything down because it isn’t perfect, though, because it’s only through trying again and again with new ideas and different concepts that something finally sticks.
There’s an obvious limit to how long you can support an idea before you need to drop it. However, instead of saying “but…” to everything, take a page from improv comedy and start saying “yes, and…”.
The Challenges of Effective Leadership
Creative and innovative minds within a team or business are only going to be as effective as those who are leading them. If you cannot translate and organize the ideas put forth by others, and follow up on them, you will not be able to utilize your team’s creativity. Similarly, not all ideas are appropriate ideas.
An idea can be good but mismatched to the current situation. You need to be able to filter through the input given by your team and determine which vision to adopt, what idea to observe and follow through with, and when to step your foot down. Unmitigated creativity and constant ideation are productive when a company has the resources needed to allow it, but when things are tight, you may have to step in and say no – and learn when to step back, and encourage continued innovation.