As a leader, it is your duty to lead, guide, and inspire your team to be the best that they can be. Finding yourself in a creative rut personally, or experiencing one with your team at large, is something that every professional has experienced. A creative rut is a state of feeling bored, frustrated, and lacking new stellar ideas. It is when your creativity takes a nosedive. This is often the result of not being stretched or challenged. It is temporary but can be a huge risk to a team’s overall productivity and morale.
Here are 5 tips to keep your team's creative juices flowing.
Focus Your Team. Direct your team’s attention toward solving a narrow problem — for example, ways to fix a specific customer issue. Define the task so your team is very clear on what is trying to be accomplished. Often people can feel overwhelmed with an endless amount of possibilities or free rain, becoming distracted at the task at hand in the process. Keep your team on track.
Team Brainstorms. Bringing your team together can create a supportive and innovative environment where new ideas can flourish. New hires may have new perspectives on old procedures and veterans may be able to identify pain points more easily. Support an environment where people are free to express their ideas, questions, and concerns freely. The community can inspire change.
Schedule Creative Time. Block routine appointments on your calendar to have time with yourself. This time can be spent journaling, reading the latest trends in the industry, listening to an informative podcast, grabbing a snack with co-workers, or meditating. You must take care of yourself before you can expect your mind to come up with the next big thing. These activities prevent burnout. More on burnout here.
Learn a New Skill. As a leader, it is common to support your employees to continue their education and growth. But don’t forget to do this for yourself too. Participate in workshops, courses, seminars, and read materials that have nothing to do with your industry or typical hobbies. Take a culinary class, go skydiving, volunteer, travel to different countries, and create new friendships. The more you get out of your routine, the better it is, as you will be exposed to completely different ways of thinking and to a completely different reality than yours.
Reflect & Reform. True innovation takes more than just the next big idea. Innovative leaders ask questions and seek feedback to learn. Re-steps and revision are a big part of the innovation pathway. Ideas come and go but innovation happens when you know the problems and create space to think about and create the solutions. Solutions appear when they are fueled by learning, talking, and/or listening to other thought leaders, and constantly being a curious student of culture and innovation. Ongoing reflection keeps your mind in a state of creation.
As easy as it can be to fall into a rut with the routineness of the workday, creativity is imperative to better processes, respond to or create new trends, and sustain high company morale. By implementing one of the tips above, you will lead your team to dig themselves out of any creative rut.