Team Exercises That Spur CreativityAUTHOR: Noah Rue
No matter what business you’re in, creativity is important. It’s about more than just having fresh, innovative ideas. It’s about being able to solve problems effectively, come up with unique solutions, and be one step ahead of the competition in terms of everything from marketing to design. Creativity is a natural desire. It’s not enough for most people to just be “efficient” with their work. They want something more, which is exactly where creativity comes in.
Creativity is even more important when it comes to working in teams.
Teamwork allows creative collaboration to flow freely. New ideas can be presented and workshopped right away, and innovative solutions are often brought to the forefront when groups work together.
It’s easy for individuals to experience creative blocks. Working in a team gives employees a chance to be inspired and motivated by others. So, as a leader, what can you do to spur creativity within your teams? Let’s look at some innovative exercises that can motivate your employees and get those creative juices flowing!
Learning About Communication Styles
There are many different communication styles, which is why some people seem to get along so well and understand each other and others just … don’t. But having a different communication style from someone else doesn’t mean you’re meant to clash. It just means you need to work a bit harder to understand what the other person is saying. Communication issues can arise for a variety of reasons including generational differences. But you may be on the same page without even realizing it.
In order for your teams to bounce creative ideas off of one another, they need to know how to communicate effectively. Start by using multiple methods of communicating in the workplace. Emails, group meetings, instant messaging systems, and individual meetings should all be a part of your communication efforts so no one feels excluded.
If you want to have your employees learn how to better communicate with one another, try a simple exercise of giving your team a sentence. Have them write down individually what they think the sentence means, and then ask everyone to compare their answers. As everyone compares answers and explains how they reached their own conclusions, other team members can learn more about that person and the way they communicate and think.
Build a Collaborative Environment
The best creative ideas come when people feel comfortable. Unfortunately, working in a group isn’t everyone’s forte. So, as a leader, it’s important to make sure you have a collaborative environment that doesn’t create extra stress.
That means people within your teams need to know more about each other, and they need to be able to trust each other. There are many different ways to build that kind of environment. As silly as it might sound, some of the classic “trust exercises” are very effective when it comes to team building.
Having team members “fall” into the arms of others can build confidence within a group. Hosting events for employees to get to know each other outside of work is also a good idea. Schedule a bowling day one afternoon, or have an after-hours party where employees can bring their families. By doing things like that continuously, team members will start to feel more like friends. You could even volunteer as a group, which can bring everyone closer together while working toward a greater cause.
A collaborative environment also needs to be open and transparent between all members of the team, especially when they’re focusing on the actual project at hand. Using a cloud project management software is a great way for everyone on a team to see what work is being done on a project.
Encourage Individual Creativity
When you put together teams, the goal is to let people bounce ideas off of each other and come up with new innovations. One person could be a creative motivator for another in the group, and so on. But in order for team members to think outside the box and allow their unique ideas to shine, it’s important to have an established creative environment for everyone in the workplace.
What does that mean?
Give your employees a chance to express themselves and take breaks during the day. That can look different for every business. For some, it might mean a more casual dress code. For others, it could mean a lounge area with games like chess to get their wheels turning. You might even allow employees to bring pets to work. Animals can reduce stress and make it easier for employees to feel more comfortable and creative.
The bottom line? The entire culture of your business should encourage creativity and individuality. That means allowing your employees to get to know each other, to trust each other, and to feel safe in sharing ideas with one another. By finding different exercises and games you can use to continuously build that environment, you’re creating a more comfortable culture within your business that can spark innovation from everyone.