Creativity is one of the most desirable traits that an employee can bring to the table. Just one individual's ability to innovate and think laterally enhances the entire team's capacity to achieve its goals. Identify the creatives in your midst and unlock their catalyst-like powers with these simple techniques.
Fit the role to the person, not the other way around.
Inspirational leaders understand that there is no such thing as a bad employee; rather, poor results are the inevitable outcome of poorly-assigned roles. Creative people are motivated by the end result and look for meaning in the roles that they perform. Learn where their interests and motivations lie and match them with projects that revolve around similar objectives.
Craft a team of implementers around your creatives.
While creative individuals excel at envisioning revolutionary solutions and concepts, translating those ideas into practical steps is not typically their strong suit. This is where the implementers come in - they are your employees whose skills center on turning ideas into reality. It is only when a team comprises both sets of skills that it can achieve results that go beyond the ordinary.
Recognize and reward original ideas.
One of the most demoralizing situations for a creative employee is to see their innovation going unrewarded while those maintaining the status quo are commended. This usually happens when managers know that innovation is the way forward but are too afraid of uncertainty to implement anything other than the same old familiar pathways. If you value creativity for its immense potential, implement a system where incentives drive products and services onto the road less traveled.
Positive discomfort yields positive results.
The environment in which we work is arguably the single most important factor in the results that we achieve. In fact, data shows that in the U.S. 46 percent of employees see themselves as overqualified for their jobs. An organization where individuals feel that they are challenged, both intellectually and skills-wise, compels them to deliver their best. This is especially true of creative employees because they tend to want to implement tangible change. Throw the most difficult challenges at them, place them outside their comfort zones, and watch them bloom.
Be prepared for a challenge.
Creative people tend to have an irreverent bent, which often comes across as brashness and perhaps even arrogance. If your natural response is to counter such an attitude with an iron fist, you are not alone. However, you are also stifling their most valuable traits. It is that assertiveness and self-belief that fuels innovation and gives them the courage to voice out-of-the-box ideas. While you should most certainly address excessive disruptiveness, allow them a wider angle of play than you would otherwise.
Despite all the stories we hear of great innovators and their revolutionary breakthroughs, turning creative ideas into reality is quite difficult to achieve - and requires excellent leadership. By using these guidelines as a framework for managing your most creative employees, you will be in a position to help them reach their full potential.