To cultivate creativity in a team you have to be creative as a leader. You can’t expect your team to be innovative if you don’t provide an environment that allows it. Here are a few ideas that I’ve found work well.
1. Hire for diversity
And by diversity, I mean truly diverse. Hire people with different passions, from different backgrounds, nationalities and cultures who have been exposed to different ways of thinking and dealing with situations. The synergy and cooperation of people with different ways of viewing the world and taking on projects can spark an extraordinary level of creativity that just may revolutionize your team and your company.
Do not try to dampen people’s differences and individuality; instead, celebrate and embrace them, which will in turn add incomparable value to your team and output.
2. Hire for harmony
While diversity matters, it is also important to build a team of people that are in sync with each other and your company’s visions, values and goals. Make sure to hire people who truly live by these same values, and share the same vision for your team and product.
The first three weeks after hiring a new team member are crucial for us. If after this time we are not completely convinced they belong on our team, and vice versa, we choose not to continue the relationship. Now, this does not in any way mean that you should hire people who always agree with each other. Rather, you should encourage critical thinking and different perspectives on the same values.
3. Hire for passion
Qualification and experience are important, but it is just as important to hire people who are passionate and love what they do. Hire people who really care and support the cause you are working toward.
Look for people who consider their team’s success to be their personal success as well. These will be the people who will make an effort to keep up with your industry, stay ahead of the curve, and look for ways to improve their work.
4. Set them free
Give your team autonomy. The whole point of having a diverse and dedicated team is that everyone will bring something unique to the table. However, this cannot happen if they are forced to stick to a certain way of thinking or working.
Don’t get me wrong, it is critical to set goals and targets, but what’s not good is telling your team exactly how to get there. Companies of the future will need to trust their employees (and not force them to clock in exactly at 8 a.m.) if they want to foster a culture of innovation and creativity.
At Cyberclick, we give our team members a 100 percent flexible schedule and unlimited vacation days throughout the year, and the key is trust. If you trust your team members, you’ll find this flexibility to be beneficial, effective and productive.
5. Laugh and celebrate
Happiness and fun in the workplace inspire creativity and productivity. There is nothing better than working alongside people who are more than just colleagues. This means it’s going to take more than an annual team building event.
Make an effort to bring happiness into your office on a daily basis. Even if it means a 20-minute coffee break or team lunch. Celebrate as a team once you have achieved goals you have set. At my company, for example, we hold celebrations every trimester and organize after-work activities on a regular basis. A morning coffee break is a vital part of our day.
These are just a few steps you can take to inspire creative thinking. Not all of these ideas will work with all teams. But if you take it upon yourself to be the trendsetter and get creative, you will find creativity (and a happy team) will follow.
This article has been edited.
David Tomás is a young entrepreneur and co-founder of Cyberclick Group, a leading digital marketing company. He likes talking about decision-making, new forms of creativity, personal and professional fulfillment, and how to build the happiest company in the world, which is the title of his new book. His company Cyberclick was named Best Workplace in 2014 and 2015. Connect with @davidtomas on Twitter.
© YFS Magazine. All Rights Reserved. Copying prohibited. All material is protected by U.S. and international copyright laws. Unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this material is prohibited. Sharing of this material under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International terms, listed here, is permitted.