Regardless of which market or industry your company is in, it’s likely that in some way, you rely on creativity to establish yourself as a valuable and distinct corporation with unique offerings. Without some creativity, businesses would never discover solutions to consumer problems, develop new services and products, or provide concepts that make the world a happier and more efficient place. Despite the fact that most businesses understand the essential part that innovation plays in their company’s ability to thrive, many managers and bosses fail to encourage creativity in the workplace, and some of the methods they adopt work to stifle it.
Whether you’re aware of your actions or otherwise, you might find that your company is killing creativity, reducing the success of your organization as a whole, and leading your employees into an unsatisfying and unmotivated work life. To fix the problem, the first thing you need to do is figure out where exactly you could be going wrong.
1. Too Much Micro-Management
To some companies, the prospect of micro-management seems like a good idea, as it allows every aspect of a situation to be controlled. Planning for every eventuality can be a great security net against potential problems and concerns that may arise — particularly when the heavy weight of responsibility is on your back — but micromanaging can be poison to the creative mind. At its core, creativity is all about thinking outside of the prescribed lines and coming up with new solutions for old problems — or even a range of different solutions to a particular situation. If you want your employees to come up with something creative, then you need to give them the freedom to execute ideas and explore concepts in their own way.
Remember, it’s not just the managers and bosses that crush creativity with micro-managing. Senior team members in a creative think-tank can sometimes take control of the situation, and begin telling people exactly how to solve problems and execute tasks. If you want to nourish a creative team, then it’s important to make sure everyone has enough room to flourish.
2. Refusing To Take Risks
Just like micro-management, refusing to take risks is just another method companies use to “play it safe”. The way they do things now has worked for them in the past, and maybe they should avoid rocking the boat by trying something different. Unfortunately, this may make sense in theory, but it also restricts creative minds from exploring new ideas that are pivotal to creativity. By sticking to the same routines and standards, you are preventing innovation from taking place, as true creativity thrives on exploring new ground and coming up with new ideas. If you force your employees to remain within existing boundaries, then you’re restricting creativity.
3. Punishing Failure
When you’re encouraging creativity within the workplace, it’s important to remember that every idea your workforce comes up with isn’t going to be a winner. Just because you’re not going to implement a particular idea, doesn’t mean that idea isn’t valuable — as even failures present new variables for teams to think about, and help to shape the future ideas that are developed. If you punish employees that don’t immediately deliver amazing results through their innovations, then you will teach staff members to be afraid of creativity, and stifle future voices that could improve your company. Instead, encourage people to learn from their mistakes, and reward them for being open about their failures and mistakes to ensure that future issues aren’t swept under the carpet.
4. Failing to Ration Resources Fairly
Two of the most significant resources that impact creativity are time and resources. Although it’s possible for creativity to flourish in strange and sparse situations, it’s important to remember that time and money is often essential to making something amazing happen. Just like matching the right workers to the right assignment, deciding how much money or time to allocate to your creative team is something that can make or break innovation. Forcing your employees to work within a tiny deadline, and removing the resources that they need is an easy way to decrease motivation, and leave your workers unwilling to churn out new ideas.
5. Neglecting to Give Feedback
Giving feedback for creative work can be a sensitive and difficult task, because there’s always an element of subjectivity in assessing creative concepts. Get your feedback wrong, and you can crush motivation, but giving no feedback at all can leave workers feeling lost and confused about whether they’re on the right track. The right feedback can not only make work better, but help to retain the enthusiasm and motivation of your workforce overtime, alongside rewards and incentives for good work.
Creativity is an essential part in making your company stand out from the crowd. With the competitive state of the marketplace today, most businesses cannot get by without encouraging innovation from their staff members, and this means delivering good leadership, and fostering an environment that is conducive to creativity. The above are just some ways companies can kill creativity – do you know any more situations that may be dangerous to an innovative workspace? Let us know in the comments!