How Leaders are undermining their Team’s Creativity Inadvertently?

How Leaders are undermining their Team’s Creativity Inadvertently?

If your team is in the midst of solving a problem or generating a new product or project idea, you might be killing their creativity without even trying. Here are three of the most common things managers do that have deleterious effects:

1. Spending too much time on brainstorming. Brainstorming or holding a group discussion to produce ideas as commonly practiced represents just one step in the large creative process, a step often referred to as divergent thinking. Before divergent thinking can have any benefit, your team needs to have thoroughly researched the problem and be sure that their brainstorming answers the right question. Afterward, divergent thinking should be followed up with convergent thinking, where ideas are combined and sorted out to find the few answers that might be the best fit so that they can be prototyped, tested, and refined. But if your entire creative method is to get your team into a room and fill up a whiteboard, you are missing out.

2. Fostering too much cohesion. The action or fact of forming a united whole is not the ultimate goal when it comes to team building. When it comes to creativity, the best teams fight a little (or even a lot). Structured, task-oriented conflict can be a signal that new ideas are being submitted to the group and tested. If you team always agrees, that might suggest that people are self-censoring their ideas, or worse, not generating any new ideas at all. Research suggests that teams that forego traditional brainstorming rules and debate over ideas as they’re presented end up with more and better ideas. As a leader, it may seem like your job is to break up and fight, but don’t be afraid to act as a referee instead — allowing the fight over ideas to unfold, but making sure it stays fair and doesn’t get personal.

3. Judging ideas before they’ve been tested. In most organizations, once an individual or team has settled on their new idea for a product or project, they prepare to pitch it to whomever they need approval from. Whether the idea only needs your approval as the team leader, or whether it needs to be pitched through the entire hierarchy to win a green light, how new ideas are treated can dramatically and negatively affect creativity. Once an individual or team presents the idea and is met with rejection, the likelihood of them continuing to “think outside the box” is diminished. The result is the safe, stale ideas our biases favor—the very ones we don’t need. Instead of judging ideas first and then testing them in the marketplace, the best leaders find ways to test ideas first and defer judgment until they have early results. So try the inverse and see what affect it has on your team’s creativity.

Read more at  The Hbr