Can be too busy to encourage creativity

Promote creativity: three factors that inspire teams

Creativity in the job, it is rarely about spectacular flashes of inspiration but rather a part of the daily work. Teams tinker, employees spin ideas. The challenge for managers: leading a team in such a way that creative work is possible and usable ideas are produced at the end of the day. A team headed by Gerhard Speckbacher from the Institute for Corporate Management at the Vienna University of Economics and Business was devoted to the question of how creative work and corporate goals can be reconciled.

Which leadership style has a positive or negative effect on team creativity? Do targets and rules benefit or harm employees in their creative processes? To answer these questions, more than 1,000 people were asked about creative work in practice over a period of five years. Managers provided information about the management tools used, employees about their perception of bosses and their management style. Different characteristics of the team composition were also surveyed. In another study, executives rated the creative work of their team.

Managers can do that for their team

According to the study, three factors create the right environment to enable teams to work creatively and at the same time.

  • The goal in mind
    The free-spirited work processes also need a goal and clear rules. Creative work beyond all specifications can be refreshing, but in the long run it will bypass the company's goals.
  • Inspire instead of control
    How the manager formulates goals has a direct influence on how successful and inspired a team then gets to work. Keyword inspiration: According to the study, the leadership style of the boss or team leader should inspire and intellectually stimulate. The goals and evaluations of the creative process should have a "developmental character", not a "control character".
  • Feedback, feedback, feedback
    Ongoing feedback to the team enables constructive work on creative ideas. What bosses should never do: Just keep an eye on the achievement of goals. This can have a negative effect - both on the goals and on the internal motivation of the entire team.

Giving employees total freedom for their creative work - that can work, but it doesn't have to be. “In order for useful, creative ideas to develop freely in the company, you don't have to abolish rules and targets. On the contrary: clearly communicated and well-founded rules and targets are of great importance, but are given a new role. They serve the manager to define the space and the direction for the free development of creativity for the team and to support the targeted development of team skills, ”says Speckbacher.

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