Good managers know that creativity is essential for the health and prosperity of the companies they work for. And therefore, good managers also know that their single most important job is to nurture creativity in those who report to them.
There are three keys to nurturing creativity:
1. Always acknowledge the importance of those who report to you and their contributions. All people crave recognition and approval, and it’s a manager’s job to make sure that workers get this. Leaders are responsible for the morale of their departments.
2. Solicit the opinions of everyone in your department. Include everyone in your meeting, from senior members of your team to the mail person. Take their suggestions and input seriously. You might be surprised who comes up with the best ideas.
3. Allow for completely open communication. Don’t prohibit discussion of certain topics and don’t shoot down ideas that seem silly or inappropriate. And don’t ignore input that you might view as a negative attitude. If an employee tells you that there is something going on that you didn’t know about, don’t ignore the problem and don’t write the employee off as being a whiner. Oftentimes it’s these kinds of conversations that plumb the well of creativity and can get everyone working toward the right goals. Even a bad idea can get people thinking and coming up with good ideas that ricochet off the original idea. Remember, good managers foster creativity, they don’t squash it to feed their own egos. And they don’t ignore input—no matter where it comes from.
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