Leaders must manage the creative process and not attempt to manage the creativity itself. Creativity occurs when there is dialogue between team members, ideas begin to flow from one person to the other and there is no shooting down of ideas because ultimately the goal is to assess all ideas and see which ones work best for the task at hand.
“When people ask me how to become more creative, I often tell them that there is a simple but challenging question to ask every day: what can I do today, that is not like me and is useful and kind’’?
By acting every day, in a useful and kind way, out of the “me Box”, you will stretch the limit of your dominant thinking.
What I suggest for leaders to do to develop the creativity in their team is to start meetings from time to time with a check in such as: what did you do differently yesterday, that was not like you, but was effective in your dealings with a client/ project etc.?
This question will allow people to know each other better and will prompt them to explore new possibilities.
Three tips for stimulating creativity as a leader:
1. Be open and curiousAsk questions that will challenge your thinking. Don’t limit your thinking. Seek diverse viewpoints from your team members/colleagues. Listen carefully to what each person has to say, no matter what role they have within the team. Sometimes the best ideas come from unlikely people e.g. someone who is known to be a strategic thinker may actually come up with a very creative idea.
2. Be authenticBe the creative innovator you wish to see in your organisaton. Make sure that your own behaviors are not unintentionally restricting creativity around you.
3. Create a stimulating EnvironmentHaving inspirational objects in the office and removing barriers which prohibit open communication can make a huge difference.
Alain Willem is a renowned business coach.