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Quit Boxing Yourself In With Self-Limiting Thinking

People are prone to categorize, label, and sort themselves into little boxes.

Think about it. How often do people say they’re left-brained because of their analytical and verbal skills and not right-brained because they aren’t visual or intuitive? What if people are trapping themselves in a box by creating walls and barriers that aren’t there? An evaluation of the left-brain vs. the right-brain found no proof of a dominant side. The two sides function differently, but they work together and complement each other.

The same idea relates to people who think they aren’t creative because they aren’t “artistic.” Creativity is not limited to the arts. Creativity can come in formulating ideas, thinking innovatively, problem-solving—all of which are essential for organizational growth.

Everyone has the potential to be creative. The key is to help your team build their creative confidence. By fostering a creative organization and assisting others in tapping into their creative potential, you can help your team unleash their inner creativity and lead your organization to overall results and growth.

Create a creative team culture

To harness your team’s inner creativity, you need to create an environment that makes it safe for others to engage and participate in creative thinking and action by:

  • Adopting a participatory approach: Everyone has so much creative potential that it is dangerous to assume all great ideas come from the top. The most innovative companies have minimized their hierarchy and transitioned to a participatory approach that involves collaboration and teamwork. They absorb ideas and insights and actively listen to people on the front lines of their operation. They nurture their team members’ innovative, creative spirit so that ideas trickle up through the organization.
  • Actively listening: Encourage others to voice their ideas, and remember to defer judgment and actively listen. For example, instead of saying, “That’s a bad idea” or “That won’t work,” keep the momentum up and create a snowball effect of new ideas. Ask yourself, “What would make this idea feasible or better?”

When people’s ideas and contributions are rejected, ignored, or shot down, their creative confidence withers away, and they will produce fewer ideas to help the organization. Companies that minimize hierarchy and encourage the exchange of ideas produce creative momentum. When people embrace the concept of building on the ideas of others, it unleashes all sorts of creativity. Most importantly, this creates an environment where people feel comfortable taking risks, experimenting with new ideas, and finding innovative ways to help the company grow.

Help others reach their potential

Harnessing an individual’s creative confidence is not like switching on a light. It takes practice and continuous improvements. Fortunately, you can help others access their inner creativity in several ways.

  1. Encourage your team members to embrace continuous learning and curiosity. Perhaps, offer your team the chance to take online classes where they can tap into their creative potential.
  2. Help others seek out new experiences. If you’ve noticed employees not using their paid time off, encourage them to volunteer in their community, meet others, or get another stamp on their passport!
  3. If a team member likes a challenge, find something that motivates them to stretch their creative thinking. For instance, if they excel in planning, allow them to help plan your annual work party or conference.
  4. For those team members who need to ease into challenges, ask them to accomplish a familiar task in an alternative way to lead to successful results.

Another strategy is fostering multidisciplinary teams that bring different backgrounds, life experiences, or perspectives to the team. Bringing together various people results in a positive tension that often leads to more innovative and exciting ideas, which can be valuable when facing complex and multidimensional challenges. Most importantly, this can lead to collaboration as ideas begin to snowball.

Finally, the creative mindset!

Once your team becomes more confident, they adopt a positive work attitude, push themselves to think innovatively, and become vulnerable in a creative context. This vulnerability fosters an ability to trust themselves and helps them break down the barriers to their creative thinking. 

And a team with a newfound creative mindset contributes to a company’s ability to innovate and grow as they apply their imagination to paint a picture of the future! You will see people using their creative mindset to solve problems, improve existing ideas, or find new ways to approach your target audience.


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Photo by dorian2013