Whether you are managing a startup, a small business or a large corporation, it’s no secret that fostering creative thinking within the workplace is vital to the growth and success of your organization.

With the increasingly complex issues your business faces every day, sometimes, the same tired concepts and means to solve problems just won’t cut it anymore.  A leader is expected to solve these problems, but ideas coming from only one person can only do so much.

This is why an environment where creativity is cultivated is important; a workplace filled with creative thinkers will provide innovative solutions and develop better ways to do things.

Fostering creativity in the workplace can be a challenging task for leaders, especially with the hustle and bustle of each day in an ordinary workplace environment filled with workloads and deadlines that leave only little room for creativity.

Here are 6 ways to encourage creativity among your employees:

1. Leverage freedom and diversity

Give your employees freedom to work towards a specific work goal using any method they want. Always dictating the specific way to do things will only stifle their creativity. Assign a fixed work goal but allow them to use their own approach to achieve it. Leverage diversity by forming teams composed of diverse creative minds that have different perspectives and take on things. A group composed of employees with various points of view is most likely to come up with creative solutions as opposed to a homogenous group where there isn’t much assortment of ideas.

2. Provide enough resources

Although there are certain projects that can be achieved by requiring only little or none of both, time and money are important resources for optimizing creativity.  Deadlines can either suppress or heighten creativity, and a limited budget might cause quality to be compromised. Provide just enough resources to support your employees in achieving a work goal.

3. Discourage politics

Make sure to pick the best ideas based on their usefulness and appropriateness, not on hierarchy. If your employees, no matter what position, feel like they have the chance to contribute to the success of the organization, they will feel more encouraged to contribute ideas more often.

“People work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards.” – Dale Carnegie

4. Keep the door open for new ideas

Their creative thinking is useless if your employees feel like their ideas aren’t welcome. Foster a creative environment where everyone knows that if they have an idea, they are free to share it anytime. You can also actively ask for your employee’s ideas by putting up a general suggestion box, where they can suggest ideas that would help in the betterment of the company anytime.

5. Make room for failure

Failure is inevitable when it comes to risk-taking. Creative thinkers will produce a lot of solutions and not many of them will lead to a successful result. Making your employees think that failure is not an option will only make them feel afraid to step out of their comfort zones and keep them from coming up with new ideas, which will stifle innovation. Instead of ostracizing them everytime they fail, let them learn from their mistakes. Let each failure bring them a step closer to success.

6. Recognize your employee’s efforts

Knowing their work matters to your organization will help your employees feel more motivated in contributing to its success. It doesn’t require resources. A simple “thank you” or a short message acknowledging your employee’s efforts and contribution to the business would be enough.

“Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers.” – Stephen R. Covey

A workplace culture that fosters creativity is beneficial not only to the business but to the manager and employees as well. A creative environment where employees are encouraged to contribute ideas and participate in problem-solving results in increased staff morale, greater productivity, increased employee engagement, and better teamwork and team bonding.  A company with creative thinkers will generate innovative ideas that can drive the business to its success.
Which one of these 6 ways to foster creativity do you find most valuable? Let us know by commenting below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Source: Success