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Are You Squashing Creativity in Your Workplace?

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In every industry—including finance—creative employees add value. “Creativity” is a broad term that’s often used as a stand-in for any approach or process that feels unprecedented, exciting, or whimsical. But in addition to being innovative or artistically inclined, creative workers are problem solvers. They don’t wait for cut-and-dried instructions, and they generally have the base knowledge and the powerful command of fundamentals that allows them to create a delicious meal without following a recipe…or manage an account without a step-by-step guidebook.

In short: You need creative workers on your team. Which means you’ll benefit by leveraging the creativity that your employees already possess…and this means making an effort not to deliberately squash it. Keep these considerations in mind.

Your employees possess the same creative energy, whether you tap into it or not.

If employees offer ideas that are bold, untested, or not fully formed, you’ll have two choices: encourage them and thank them for speaking, or silence them and make them feel foolish. No matter which path you choose, the ideas they produce will be just as risky and just as brilliant…but if you choose the second path, they’ll keep these ideas to themselves from now on. Which means you’ll miss out on excellent resources and countless future opportunities for success.

Send them back to the table with energy and inspiration.

Since most clever contributions and suggestions aren’t fully polished at their inception, smart managers praise innovative employees and then point them toward the next step, or send them back to their desks in order to flesh out and develop a nascent idea. But the way you execute this move matters. Send employees onward with support, encouragement and positive energy. Don’t list all the reasons why the idea won’t work and then order them to prove you wrong. The first action builds confidence and brings far better results…the second turns the creative enterprise into a chore.

Encourage teamwork, not competition.

When your team and your workplace are operating at their best, one person’s great idea is everyone’s great idea. The benefit of one clever contribution lifts every boat and makes everyone feel better about the day, the company, the project, and the work that lies ahead. On the other hand, if you foster competition instead of collaboration, then a win for one employee means a loss for another. This helps nobody.

Assign credit accurately.

During group meetings and brainstorming sessions, follow the ball closely. Too often, smart but quiet employees will get shouted down and closed out. Or worse, they’ll suggest a great idea that someone else will take credit for five minutes later. Don’t let this happen. Pay attention to every voice.

For more on how to get the most out of your employees by tapping into their creativity and sense of enterprise, contact the DC staffing team at Cordia.