29 Mar 5 Tips To Lead Your Team Into Creative Success
We often believe that it’s the company culture at large that dictates whether an organisation is creative or not.
In actual fact individual leaders and managers can do so much to inspire creativity in employees and enhance the creative culture. Not every workplace has the resources to build slippery slides or rock-climbing facilities for creativity break-outs – and that’s ok! Believe it or not these aren’t essential to getting the creative juices flowing. Individual leaders and managers can do so much to inspire creativity in employees and enhance the creative culture.
Here are 5 ways you can lead your team into creative success:
- Carve out time for creativity
Making time in your week for creative thinking shouldn’t be a “nice idea” but a non-negotiable. Many companies adopt a ‘free time zone’ philosophy to give their staff breaks in order to cultivate creative thinking. This could come in many forms – weekly workouts, fun games, breakfast brainstorm sessions. Some of Google’s most innovative ideas such as Gmail, AdSense and Google Talk came about when they gave their employees 20% free time to do whatever they want, so if you think this philosophy is a waste of time, think again. Begin by carving out at least an hour a week of free time for your team to get out of their work-zone and into the creative zone.
- Reward Creative Ideas
In order to keep the creative momentum going, your team need to feel like they are being recognised for their creative efforts. A great example of successfully rewarding creativity is Kirshenbaum Bond’s approach. This New York based ad agency hold an all staff meeting twice a year called The Golden Bagel Awards. Teams are publicly recognised for the best creative ideas with a golden bagel (a dried bagel dipped in gold paint and finished with a red ribbon). This idea hardly costs a thing, yet the sense of pride one feels at being awarded a dried golden bagel in front of their peers is immense. When you walk around the KB+P office you will see mouldy old bagels hanging off people’s desk, it has now become part of their company culture. Try to think of an innovative way you can begin to reward your staff outside of lunches or bonuses.
- Provide a Safe Environment for Failure
It is essential that leaders provide an environment where staff feel comfortable to say their ideas out loud, even if they sound absurd at first. Nothing truly innovative ever sounded normal when it was first thought of. Think: a machine that can fly in the sky. This is why when it comes to brainstorming, I always stress the importance of crap ideas. Some will be just that – crap, but others will be brilliant solutions that disrupt the market and propel a brand forward. Allow the weird and wacky to be voiced; you never know what could evolve into the next billion-dollar idea.
- Create a Feedback Culture
We live in a world where constant feedback is something we have become used to – and almost reliant upon. When we send a text message we expect an instant reply, or we post a photo to social media and anticipate the “likes” and comments, yet one place where feedback can be barren is in the workplace. It usually comes in the form of a yearly or half yearly review that can often be very structured and un-human. If your team member has an idea that you don’t think is right, it is important to tell them why in an objective way. For example, “It’s a great idea but off brief for this brand because of X, Y and Z”. Feedback should be delivered quickly and regularly otherwise motivation levels will drop and the quality of ideas will too.
- Hold up the Vision
When deadlines and stress pile up we can easily lose sight of the bigger picture. Creativity can be gruelling and trying to please clients on a daily basis adds to the challenge. A leader’s job is to always remind staff of the grander vision, the collective mission and the rewards that come from doing great work!