4 Ways Managers Can Spark Employee Creativity

Increased employee creativity is one of the most important benefits companies gain when they engage in professional corporate team building.  In fact, somebody’s not doing their job if your staff doesn’t return from their workshop feeling inspired and ready to solve problems differently.

Corporate Team BuildingCorporate Team Building and Employee Creativity

The same holds true if this creative spark doesn’t continue to burn over the long haul.  When it’s designed and staged properly, corporate team building sets a precedent for employee creativity that continues to build on itself long after the workshop is over.

But while corporate team building workshops offer inspiration in its most concentrated form, there are things you can do to keep those creative juices flowing. Towards that end, here are 4 ways that management can inspire employee creativity.

1. Emphasize and Encourage Creativity Every Day

It all starts with the right attitude. Whether it seems like it or not, your staff pays attention to the cues you give them every day. That’s why it’s important to keep an open posture toward employee creativity. Your people would love nothing more than to come up with creative new ways to solve problems. But they’re nowhere near as likely to try without a little encouragement.

One of the best ways to foster creativity is to mention it explicitly. Express the need for employee creativity whenever the opportunity presents itself. You can do this during staff meetings, in mass communications, or in everyday encounters with your staff. You’ll be shocked at how innovative your people can be once they understand that it’s ‘allowed.’

2. Let Them Implement New Ideas

This is a non-optional extension of encouraging creativity. You’re not really encouraging creativity if you shoot down every idea your people come up with, right? Of course not. And you can’t use budget or time constraints as an excuse either. Why? Because these very constraints are the reasons you need creative solutions in the first place.

Yes, you’re bound to have some misfires. Some ideas just won’t work, but you have to take a gamble now and then if you want that one great idea to emerge. With the right people in place, there’s no question that one of these gambles will eventually pay off. It’s also important not to be unnecessarily critical if an idea doesn’t end up working or takes a while to develop.

3. Establish Ground Rules and Structure

This might seem strange at first glance, but rules and structure are actually very important to the creative process. Creative sessions have to guided in order to be productive. Otherwise, people tend to stand around waiting for somebody else to do something. So however counterintuitive it might seem, make sure that your creative teams work within an articulated set of guidelines and parameters.

They don’t have to be excessively detailed or even particularly constraining. A few sentences will usually suffice. The team can even create the guidelines themselves. It might even be better if they do, as long as they set specific goals, establish standard operating procedures, and allocate responsibilities.

4. Exercise Patience and Encourage Your Staff to Do the Same

Good ideas take time to develop. They sometimes emerge long after the moment when your or your people get discouraged and want to give up. That’s why it’s very important to stay at it and trust the process, even when it seems that everyone is exhausted and out of ideas.

If anyone gets discouraged, remind them that creativity doesn’t work in the same way that, say, mathematics does. Creative progress doesn’t happen in a linear fashion. It occurs in fits and starts, often in ways that aren’t apparent until much later. Wait for the miracle and it will eventually happen.