Whether you are supervising a team or writers, marketing executives, public relations gurus, advertising specialists, etc., you want to promote creativity in your workplace. Unbeknown to you, you can be suppressing originality in your office. Don’t make the mistakes outlined below and let your company culture infringe of your employees’ original thinking.
Strict Rules – It is understandable that as a manager you will want to create and enforce rules for your subordinates. However, individuals that need to be creative on the job usually do not do well with very strict enforcements. Try a little bit of leniency and see how that will affect workflow.
For example, why not allow employees the chance to spend some time outside in the office courtyard or balcony to refresh their mind and spark an original idea. Or, why not try to create a flexible schedule that will allow staff to work at hours they set for themselves? Not everyone is a morning person, and some people may think better in the evening.
Environment – Take a look around your office and observe what you see. Is your working environment bland and boring or colourful and exciting? People tend to get inspired by their surroundings, so transform your office into such a space. Paint in bright colours, add fun paintings or photographs and nick nacks to promote a fun working day. In fact, why not allow your employees to design their own offices or cubicles?
No Rewards – Many employees need an incentive to think out-of-the-box and present a fresh idea. Do you provide rewards to your team when someone hits a professional home run? Consider giving out small cash incentives, time off or simple gift cards to entice your underlings to invest the time in coming up with a unique idea.
Structure – The last thing to review to see if your company culture is suppressing your creativity is to observe the actual structure of your workflow. How are assignments given out? What directions are provided? How does the approval process work? Do your own managers want original work, or the same type of projects turned in over and over. Many times, upper management does not want or like change; and then this mentality trickles down to the employees.
They are aware that anything unique will not be approved, so they keep producing the same status quo time after time. Or, work is given out with no instructions for employees to truly present unique ideas.
The working culture is a big determinant of creativity and originality. How you set up the rules, expectations and even the environment of the office will greatly influence the kind of work you get from employees.
Head of Training
Originally published: 16 January, 2015