Maintaining creativity within your team during challenging times

This article originally appeared on bizjournals.com/charlotte.

Challenging times can stifle creativity and disrupt quality controls. Keeping creativity at a high level is imperative to both the overall success of the operation and individual productivity. If individuals aren’t able to effectively access and utilize this part of their work life, it impacts everything.

Let’s define creativity as journalist Robert E. Franken did in his book, Human Motivation: the tendency to generate or recognize ideas, alternatives or possibilities that may be useful in solving problems, communicating with others and entertaining ourselves and others. This definition is important to keep in mind because it extends beyond the artsy and touches everything we do.

Here are a few scenarios in which maintaining creativity will be tested in the workplace and ways to combat the challenge.

New team members

Adding new teammates is a positive thing, but it can present a host of challenges. For new employees, the first few weeks, and possibly months, can seem overwhelming. While hopefully the former is most common in your organization, make sure that part of the onboarding process includes an introduction to all or most team members. This will start to build trust and communication. Put new employees in a position where they feel comfortable sharing ideas and asking for assistance. The worst thing you can do for a new team member is to create an initial environment where they’re on a perceived island. If you make an effort to connect the team, the individual and company benefit is immediate. Employees will automatically look for ways to collaborate and sustain healthy means of communication.

Busyness 

An overabundance of work can be a blessing and a curse. Whether you’re leading a creative agency or not, too much work can strain the system and affect every aspect of creativity. You can fall into the rut of spending less time on a product or service for the sake of meeting deadlines. Not only does this play games with your mind, but it can also compromise quality.

In this scenario, challenge everyone to get together and talk out their frustrations. This is the perfect time to lean on one another to collectively manage the storm and make sure nothing big falls through the cracks. Realizing that no one needs to go it alone can be a game-changer.

Remote work 

It would be a disservice to get through a post these days without mentioning the remote work environment and how it has changed the way some companies conduct business. For better or worse, its impact is far-reaching. The shift, whether temporary or long-term, has caused a divide that has challenged creative teams everywhere.

There is no secret remedy other than a rhythm of communication with your peers and direct reports. Keep the conversation going at all times. If you’re an owner, your people want direction and feedback. This will allow creativity to continue.

Conclusion

Over-communicate. Teach. Support. The presence of these elements will help foster an environment where ideas flow and where, if needed, the artist is free to make a continual stamp on your organization and the work you provide. Investing in these areas as a business leader will pay dividends for all involved.

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