No matter what line of business you are in, your employees and their creative genius, apart from your own, enable you to stand firm. As a leader, the responsibility to stimulate and sustain your employees’ creativity lies with you.
Here are a few strategies that can help you bring out the best from your employees:
Hire People with Diverse Backgrounds: A diverse workplace is more dynamic with ideas floating around the place. People with different backgrounds come together with diverse ideas and experiences. That helps you get diverse perspectives on a problem, an issue or a process. So, hire people of different ages, skills, abilities, gender, languages and so on.
However, diversity can be counter-productive if you let the inherent differences among people come between them. You need to have separate strategies to deal with these differences and bring compatibility within your teams.
Invite Open Discussions: Many managers are hesitant to ask their direct reports for inputs as they feel it undermines their own credibility. They feel asking for inputs could end up sending the wrong message that they don’t know how to run their department. As a result, they end up taking decisions on their own. In this process, they may lose several valuable ideas. Besides, an approach of this sort may make your employees feel overlooked or undervalued. They may not take ownership and only do what they are asked to do.
If your management style veers towards this, maybe you need to make a few changes. Try involving your employees in the decision-making process. Brainstorming is one of the ways in which you can engage your employees. Give them an issue which poses a bit of challenge to your employees and elicit responses. Do not share your views but just listen to them. Do not discriminate and pass judgments on their opinions.
Give Recognition where it is Due: Several surveys we have conducted over the years show that employees quit an organization because it does not recognize their contribution. Instead of just focusing on what an employee does not do well, keep appreciating what he/she does well and encourage him/her to do that often.
Be Flexible: If you are a rigid manager and stick to the hierarchical structure, your employees may not approach you and share their ideas with you confidently. You must be flexible enough to mingle with your direct reports. Share a lighter moment or two with them.
A manager can boost or cripple employees’ creativity. Therefore, you need to act and create an atmosphere where employees feel thinking differently does not attract criticism. For that, you need to be an out-of-the-box thinker.
Do share your thoughts on the same.