Blog: 5 ways bosses unknowingly cripple their employees' creativity

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5 ways bosses unknowingly cripple their employees' creativity

Organizations have woken up to the need of creativity and innovation to be able to survive competition in a global market. That being said, most leaders must see to it that their cognitive biases don’t get in the way of encouraging new ideas.
5 ways bosses unknowingly cripple their employees' creativity

"Real life is… a perpetual compromise between the ideal and the possible; but the world of pure reason knows no compromise, no practical limitations, no barrier to the creative activity.” - Bertrand Russell

Management gurus around the world have preached why organizations need to create a freeway for their employees to encourage creativity. But let’s face it, a colorful workplace with a casual dress code doesn’t necessarily constitute as creativity within an organization. 

Behind the welcoming and affable façade most organizations conceive a reluctant mindset. They are averse to change agents as they bring along the winds of uncertainty. Leaders need to grow increasingly aware of their ways just so they don’t hamper creativity within their organizations. Research points out that in theory, people are all for creativity but in actuality fail to endorse it. The research highlights that creative ideas can give rise to feelings of uncertainty, and that people tend to favor tried and tested ideas over creative ideas. 

It has been seen that anti-creativity bias is often unapparent and that people themselves are unaware of it which deters them from identifying a creativity idea. To combat this irony, leaders must be wary of the following five things which can be detrimental to creativity and innovation:

  1. Over-thinking about returns: Innovative initiatives often mean investment. Over-evaluating the potential or feasibility of a new idea often dims the interest in it. To deal with this, leaders must be mindful of the benefits of adopting a creative mindset for an organization.

  2. Brainstorming far too much: For brainstorming to be of any use, leaders must use the activity to refine ideas.  Ideas, good and bad both, disappear in thin air if they are brainstormed too much about. Needless to say that ideas need to be thoroughly researched before being used for brainstorming, teammates must indulge in convergent thinking post their brainstorming activities to make the process effective.

  3. Undermining the importance of individuality: Teamwork has its own advantages, but when it comes to creativity a leader must realize the importance of individuality. Each of us is different. In a team, an individual could feel demotivated and get disheartened if his idea fails to seek validation from his teammates. Research shows that to promote creativity one must also recognize the benefits of t individualistic values.

  4. Being critical of ideas even before trying: Perceiving an idea to be impractical even before trying it out could deter an employee from exercising his creative abilities for the organization. A leader should be idea-oriented and better the idea with his inputs and insights.

  5. Being rigid and oriented towards traditional practices: While policies and procedures are crucial for an organization, but too much rigidity in an organization is not conducive for innovation. Employees will suppress their creative side and conform to the traditional practices.

It is natural for individuals to have a mental block that prevents them from espousing new ideas. Leaders must consciously make efforts to identify creative barriers and break them down.  With this effort, organizations can embark on a journey to accomplish business goals with using innovation.

Topics: #TAWeek, Skilling

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