Even as we realize that there are a wealth of different perspectives on what creativity is and how it is derived, what we can do is stoke creativity across the board. My last blog was built around creativity and educational thinker Sir Ken Robinson and how creativity is different across the board. There is no one path to creativity—one person’s mistake is another’s creative work-around. One person’s time-wasting endeavor is another’s deliberate ideation process.
This is the challenge for leaders—what can you do to focus your employees, harness their natural approaches, and create a working environment that pushes the creative envelope for all, not just some employees.
As a leader, bringing out the best in your employees is your main charge. Setting a vision is critical; making tough decisions is a necessary and every-day skill; but, developing and advancing others is the aspect of leadership that allows you to truly move the needle.
So, what does that mean for creativity and INSPIRING a creative workforce? There are key actions that leaders can take to boost creativity—but in each, the advantage happens when you can tailor the approach to your team. Here’s how to do it:
INSPIRING your team.
Inspiration starts with utilizing charismatic, visionary, and communicative qualities to encourage your team—but to focus on inspiring creativity, your employees need to know that they can be successful in their own dimension.
- What inspires creativity in a person who thinks primarily Analytically? How about the ability to solve a problem or present a business case in a new way?
- With Structural thinkers, creativity may not be a huge NEW idea, but rather a huge IMPROVEMENT on an existing idea or process.
- Social Thinkers will likely see creativity boosted by collaboration and teamwork – pay attention to their ideas on a personal level.
- Finally, for those who have a Conceptual Preference, they are your most typical “creative” thinkers—it’s about inspiring a new connection or a bigger picture than ever before and then getting out of the way.
Think too about behaviors—creativity in action and expression looks very different across your employee base.
- Expressiveness ranges on a spectrum. For those employees who are quiet, inspiring creativity is going happen in one-on-one conversations rather than big group brainstorm sessions. More gregarious, outgoing employees will need to hear a vision and will want to contribute in many arenas—inspire by providing a big platform and allow them to vocalize.
- Assertiveness ranges from peacekeeping and not rocking the boat to driving and competitive. One side of the spectrum isn’t more creative than the other (although at times the loudest employees can win—don’t let that happen!). Inspiring the more peacekeeping employees means creating a culture where all ideas are valued. For driving employees, inspiration comes by letting them take the reins—no micromanaging…believe in their ability to push and get things done.
- Flexibility is on a spectrum as well—your employees need to be inspired that directions can change but plans are made for a reason. For employees who prefer a definition, inspiring creativity means giving them opportunities to see ideas from start to finish. For those employees who welcome change, creativity gets stoked when they’re inspired to make new paths to improvement and see bigger and better things.
Inspirational leadership is about boosting your workers and harnessing their creativity – in whichever form it appears.