Leadership goes beyond having the higher position or title in your company. Training Magazine defines leadership as “being able to influence” a team in order to achieve better results. This highlights the importance of leadership in bringing the organization to bigger heights–so long as the leaders of the group use their influence for positive endeavors.
Influence can really go a long way. It can change corporate decisions of executives, to internal organizational climate between departments, to the mere workplace habits of the employees. Given the importance of leadership influence, a study by Carmeli, Reiter-Palmon, and Ziv from the University of Nebraska was conducted to find out how leadership can affect creativity in the workplace–more specifically, how inclusive leadership induces creativity.
Carmeli, Reiter-Palmon, and Ziv set openness, accessibility, and availability as the grounds in defining inclusive leadership. As long as organizational leaders are accommodating and engaging, the following tips can guarantee an increase in creative thinking and initiative of the people in the work place.
So how can leaders influence creativity in the workplace? Carmeli, Reiter-Palmon, and Ziv compiled five (5) techniques how:
1. Serve as a role model for creative behavior and innovation
Being a role model does not fall on the shoulders of the leaders alone. Serving as a good example is a mandate by every professional. However, leaders are the ones expected to exhibit ideal behavior first and foremost. Basically, if you want to encourage your employees to get the gears in their heads turning, you yourself should be the first one to be pitching ideas. Having one or two ideas on the table can encourage discourse–the exchange of comments, opinions, and the proposal of other probable ideas.
2. Provide resources needed to exhibit creative behavior
To encourage ground-breaking ideas to be put on the table, leaders must make the employees feel that the company is capable of putting their ideas into reality. More than just financial resources, remember that time and information are valuable resources too. Great ideas aren’t generated overnight, more importantly, not without background information and research. Employees must have the time to think and the access to information to supply their thoughts.
3. Involve employees in the creative process
People must have the avenue to present their propositions. Making them part of the planning session or the creative process is the perfect way to encourage them to pitch in their ideas. Being part of the grassroots, employees can usually pitch in ideas that are grounded on real-life experiences of ordinary employees. The National Academies Press stated that involving employees in the process cultivates the culture of competitiveness (another vital behavior necessary for success).
4. Provide relational support
It is human nature to feel better or to be inspired and motivated when provided with relational support. Of the five tips given, showing support must be the most effective way to encourage creativity. Appreciating effort, rewarding accomplishments, and being optimistic at times of failure make employees feel more bold in taking risks and pitching in the newest and most innovative of ideas.
5. Change the organizational climate
As said earlier, being the role model is not the duty of the organization’s leaders but of the whole group. The same goes for other ideal practices necessary for success–such as encouraging creative behavior. It is important for the members of the same organization to have trust in each others’ capabilities. It is also important that they remain optimistic in times of distress. A conducive organizational climate is fostered by every member of the group, and not just the officers that lead it.
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