3 ways to get the creative juices flowing in your team

One of the great things about being in a team for a good length of time, is being completely comfortable with how things work, knowing how your team goes about doing things, and being confident that you’re fully capable of doing what you need to do.

Every leader’s dream right? A team that just gets things done exactly how they’ve always done it? Well, that is until it stops being so great and starts being…well dull!

This is just what inspired this question:

I’ve inherited a team of 8 and I would really like them to start coming up with ideas and suggestions on how we can do things better, but I feel like they’ve got into the rut of ‘we’ve always done it this way.’ How do I get them out of their comfort zone?

This is such a great question, as it can be so easy to fall into a rut at work. The issue is that although it’s great to have a team that is able to just knuckle down and get the work done. A team with few problems, and a team that have the historical know how to deal with any issue – It’s also very easy to get stale – and without a healthy flow of innovation it doesn’t take long for this to happen.

So how do you inject a bit of creativity without shaking them up too much?

1. Recognise the great work that has gone before

The problem here is that you may not just be dealing with how the team is now, but what they have been through together. They may feel like they’ve tried things in the past and it’s not got anywhere, or they may even have been encouraged to stick with the status quo. Either way, build up confidence by recognising the great work that they do and what the team are doing well.

2. Give them permission

Sometimes all it takes is for someone to give permission and let them know that new ideas are welcome. Start by asking for the teams ideas on a specific topic or task and have a brainstorm as a group. Make it clear that there are no bad ideas and encourage a healthy discussion. Point to note here is to start small with a topic that won’t cause a lot of resistance in the early stages. Also watch out for the phrases: ‘we’ve tried that’ or ‘we’ve always done it this way’ rearing their ugly heads. If you hear them, ask the team to think of ways round the problems they encountered, why it didn’t work before and how they could make it work now.

3. Get other people involved

When a team becomes insular with no ideas coming in from the ‘outside world, innovation can soon run dry. Ask members of other teams to come and share their best practice, or even ask people from other companies to come along to a meeting to talk about how they do things. You might also want to encourage the sharing of learning from their network, previous roles, or things they’ve read to the rest of the team so that it becomes a way of life.

I’d love to hear your ideas for growing and encouraging creativity within a team. Please do share by leaving a comment.

 

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