It’s inspiring to see the free exchange of ideas among employees; no idea is put down, and no one feels intimidated. It takes years to create and sustain this type of organizational environment. This is the burden of leadership, to help sustain the creative and innovative organizational environment.
Creativity is a key part of a leader’s many roles. If you want breakthrough thinking, “chaos” and “discontinuity” must be part of the norm. These elements allow the exciting breakthrough and productive changes many organizations lack. To encourage breakthrough thinking among your employees, you must be willing to take on the following roles.
What Does it Take to Facilitate Creativity?
Alchemist. These individuals help employees “get the lead out,” and move to “golden” thinking. These facilitators know intuitively that everyone has some hidden piece of creativity waiting to break through.
Dancer. By sparking ideas through brainstorming sessions, these facilitators are unafraid to spin ideas, moving participants gracefully and quickly from one creative moment to the next.
Mad Scientist. These facilitators know that the greatest inventions are often unplanned; like penicillin; and they embrace these creative accidents.
Actor. A brainstorm leader knows everyone is watching him. Therefore, he must make sure that his audience truly believes he can help unleash their creativity.
Environmentalist. These facilitators waste no idea and can find value in the seemingly unimportant or bad ideas.
Law officer. While speeding and chaos are encouraged in brainstorming, the leader must know when to rein in the group.
Butler. While it’s common for some leaders to manipulate the thinking in groups, it’s counterproductive to creativity. The leader must be the servant to participants and allow them to create solutions.
How well do you play each of the roles above? Pick one where you’re challenged and work on it this week. I’d love to hear what happens for you. Please share your questions, feedback, or experience in the comments section below.