One of the greatest ways to develop a creative team is to lower the fear of failure and encourage people to bring out their creativity, according to Denise Jacobs, author of Banish Your Inner Critic. Everyone has their unique creative gifts and by supporting your team to unleash theirs, you then create connectivity, closeness, and a culture of play. Denise’s most powerful strategy to unleash creativity is to promote failure. In today’s changing environment, perhaps building up a tolerance to try, fail, and try again is the best way for a team to achieve great results from anywhere.
What Creativity Is
What is creativity? Creativity is the state of flow that people get into where their skills meet their challenges. It’s a mental skill that everyone possesses, yet few choose to leverage. Creativity is a skill that is needed in every industry, team, company and job position.
Many people believe that they are not creative. This belief is a myth that is holding them back from leveraging the creative power that they really have. In fact, creativity is a top desired skill in the workplace. Why is that? Because creativity is a skill that humans have that AI doesn’t have. It’s one of the main skills that set us apart as humans. Creativity is the skill you use to solve your most difficult problems and come up with creative ideas. But how do you develop it?
First, uncover what you love doing and can’t stand doing. Then, increase your awareness of what you enjoy, and see where you are the most creative. Lastly, take that and start to capitalize upon it.
7 Ways to Develop a Creative Team
1. Get in touch with your own creativity
At the present time, if you don’t believe yourself to be a creative person, ask yourself, how are you creative? What part of your day do you identify yourself using your creativity? The first step in developing your own creativity starts with recognizing that you are creative and where you practice creativity.
2. Role Model Behaviors
After you recognize and step into your own creativity, the first thing you should do to spark creativity on your team is to role model behaviors. If you want to spark creativity on your team, your team has to see you first taking actions that spark your own creativity. As a result, you give your team permission to take on behaviors they need to spark their own creativity.
3. Develop your curiosity & Pretend to Not Be The Expert
Contrary to popular belief, it’s important for you to pretend that you don’t know what you know. Denise calls this releasing the tyranny of the expert. The issue with working through your entire day as “the expert” is that it blocks you from receiving input that can be valuable. If you want to be a more creative leader, pretend to not be the expert and see what you learn.
A point that is often overlooked is that failure is how you learn, and failure forces you to be creative. If you want to reframe failure, fail on purpose. Deliberately do something wrong or poorly. Denise has teams do an exercise where they write the worst poem that they can possibly write. Then they discover what they learned from it.
5. Seek Surprise
For example, to seek surprise, make a surprise journal. Inside the journal every day answer the following questions:
- What has surprised you today?
- Today, what did you expect and what was a surprise?
- What ended up happening today?
- What surprised you about yourself?
- Did you have a reaction or a response or anything that you were surprised about?
6. Understand the Mechanics of Flow (So You Can Be In It)
Another key point to develop your creativity is to learn to lay the foundations and set the stage for flow. To do this specifically, look back to times where you’ve been in a creative flow state. When you’ve been in the zone, think about what was happening. With this in mind, what you didn’t realize at the time, was that in that flow state, there’s an intersection of skill and challenge. When you are walking that fine line, you get into a flow state. The way you stay in that flow state is when your skills and the challenge are equal. As a result, if one exceeds the other, you will get out of flow.
7. Leverage the Power of Play
Finally, too many people take work too seriously, underestimating the value the role that play has in effectiveness. When people play, they are more productive, and do things better. When work becomes play, it becomes more fun than fun.
Bonus: Develop a Creative Team with this Team Building Activity
Set up a Work Sprint
If you’re looking for proven, practical exercises to develop a creative team, set up a work sprint. Set up a Zoom Meeting where during the first 10 minutes are dedicated to activities involving hands, (i.e. coloring, legos, play-dough) and then set the sprint timer the length of the work sprint. By creating work sprints allowing people to manually use their hands and their creativity, you set them up to focus and tackle a lot of work during the sprint.
Tips for Leaders in 2021
- Figure Out Where You Are Creative
- Write a “to DON’T” List (If it’s on this list, delete, delegate, or alter it.)
- Don’t Be Afraid to Contribute Your Ideas
About Denise Jacobs
Denise R. Jacobs is a Speaker + Author + Creativity Evangelist who speaks at conferences and consults with companies worldwide. As the Founder + CEO of The Creative Dose, she promotes techniques to unlock creativity and help people become engaged contributors, synergistic collaborators, and authentic leaders. Denise is the author of Banish Your Inner Critic, the premier handbook on silencing fears to unleash creativity. She is also the Head Instigator of The Creativity (R)Evolution, and the founder of Rawk The Web.