Sabotaging your team’s creativity? Signs to look out for and how to fix things

20th Nov 2016
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A lot of entrepreneurs focus on boosting their employees’ creativity, pushing them hard every day to bring about eureka moments, but when the time comes, the same set of leaders choose to walk the safe path. Indian professionals are best known for being followers rather than innovators. Even though a lot of people have started putting forth groundbreaking ideas, only a few have been able to achieve success with their master strokes. This is the section of business leaders who do not retrocede and believe in exploring the unexplored. The best part is that they let their employees work with the same approach.

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If your team hasn't been able to come up with any breakthrough ideas in a while, there’s a high chance that the work culture set by you is not motivating enough to drive their passion to expand your business. Here are some signs that you are unknowingly sabotaging your team’s creativity as well as ways to turn things around and inspire them:

There is no privacy in your office space

While it may seem that assigning individual cubicles to your employees will hinder their creativity due to lack of communication and collaboration, the reality is quite the opposite. Employees require their own individual, private spaces, where they can put in their best efforts without the distractions common to open work spaces. On the other hand, a closed space provides enough time and ease for employees to get in the zone and focus on their project.

You micromanage everything

While it is true that discipline is important in any kind of workplace, constantly breathing down your employees’ necks is not the right approach. It is basic psychology that the more you try to tie a person down, the more they will want to break free. Your employees need their own space to explore their ideas and bring creative and innovative solutions forward. Micromanaging everything and keeping a watch on your employees will only increase tension and hinder their creativity. Adopt a slightly flexible approach in your management style and let your employees decide their own goals. You’ll be surprised at the outcome for sure.

You recognise individual efforts over team efforts

Appreciating and recognising someone’s efforts is good, but your priority should be to acclaim the whole team rather than picking out the best performing individual. That approach negatively affects team spirit and could possibly arouse competitive feelings within the team. Having a complacent team is the last thing you want in your organisation! Picking out an individual ‘star of the month’ rather than ‘best team of the month’ is more likely to create frenemies in your organisation, as a result of which, employees will keep away from sharing ideas, thereby negating the whole point of working together.

Numbers are your first priority

All business owners love numbers. Good numbers encourage more hiring, while the opposite brings on the dreaded cut-backs and lay-offs. In bad situations, cutting back on things like incentives, pay, training and conferences could be a bad idea. With all due respect, you team will start cutting back on contributions and execution.

Even though winning and making a mark is the ultimate motive of every organisation, you must keep in mind that there is no innovation without risk, and wherever there are risks involved, there is the possibility of failure. Instead of discouraging failure, appreciate the efforts and hard work that your employees have put in to achieve certain targets. This way, they won’t be disheartened, instead gathering up, learning from their mistake and looking out for more innovative solutions to surpass your expectations.

Even if you are the boss, there is no way that you could have all the wisdom to carry trough the "Big Picture" all by yourself. You need a team of executors that can drive your organisation forward. It is your responsibility to keep them fueled up and excited about working for your company. Believe in their judgment, give them the freedom to experiment and let them go the extra mile. At the end of the day, it's you and your business that's flourishing.

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