As a passionate champion for Innovation and Creativity, I have seen how creating an innovative culture can vastly improve productivity, team confidence and even wellbeing within a team. Everyone can become a master innovator, and I have provided a few tips that can help you steer your team in that direction.
1. Establish an effective “go to” method where your team can freely share their ideas.
As the workplace continues to evolve and workspaces deliberate onsite, hybrid and online environments, incorporating online tools such as RehvUp are an effective way to give your team members a voice to share their ideas. Companies have tried tools such as idea jars, suggestion boxes etc., however these are rapidly losing relevance and having little effect.
RehvUp is a digital platform that allows employees to post live in various communities. Employees can post ideas/challenges/suggestions, sparking a conversation or beginning a brainstorming session with colleagues at any time, regardless of location.
Managers can make this exciting for teammates by providing incentives for “golden ideas”, initiating live ideating sessions and recognizing employees for outstanding solutions. This will make team problem solving something to look forward to.
2. Reflect on your responses to challenges as a manager/leader. Are your responses helpful or harmful?
When challenges occur, of course as humans, we tend to have an emotional response. And that’s ok! But rest assured, we can train ourselves to respond in helpful, productive ways, that inspire movement that leads to overcoming. A few questions to ask ourselves as leaders.
- How do you respond to challenges at work?
- Do you visibly show signs of hopelessness to your team?
- Do you complain often when things become tough or overwhelming?
- Do you give up or ignore difficult tasks, or pass them on to a member of your team sharing openly that you don’t want to do it?
We can sometimes be very unaware about how our responses to challenges shape the culture of our team. If as a leader, your response to challenges are consistently negative, chances are your team will mirror that response, and have a negative attitude toward challenges as well. Please note, I am not suggesting a robotic and falsely positive response. It is a good thing to make a little space for the difficult emotions, but don’t let it stop there. Channel that energy into some powerful ideating!
3. Maintain an attitude and an environment that embraces challenges as an exciting part of the job.
Challenges can be difficult to face, but when they are overcome, especially collaboratively, it creates an amazing bonding experience, increases confidence and quite simply, it just feels good!
Here are a few tips:
- If a challenge arises as a part of your workload, ask your team if they would like to get involved and have a brainstorming session together as a way to find a solution. Rather than passing the task along, bring the team together and give them a chance to shine. This is also a great way to discover undiscovered strengths within your team! You may even find that employees volunteer to take on aspects of the challenge if the solutions are within their scope of expertise.
- If a team member comes to you with a challenge, this is also an opportunity for collaborative brainstorming. It is imperative that your response as a leader is not one that pushes employees away or makes them feel incompetent. The suggestions in number one of this article are particularly useful here, as ideas can be shared in a safe space and takes the pressure off of both parties.
There are several ways to begin a culture of innovation within your team. Consider these steps as a way to start and see the difference it makes within your team! Happy ideating!