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Creating Successful Leaders

Tag Archives: creative thinkers

foster team's creativity

Creativity is a key resource in any successful team’s problem-solving toolbox. New projects bring together many different kinds of people, with a diverse array of perspectives and strengths. Creating an environment that fosters not only your own creativity but that of your team as a unit can be tricky and unintuitive at times. Small groups thrive when everyone is comfortable and participates. Here are some tips to facilitate that dynamic and get your team’s creative juices flowing.:

Brainstorming Sessions

Brainstorming sessions are a tried and true way of teasing out new ideas. Have your team gather in a comfortable, neutral space. If the office conference room doesn’t inspire, a change of venue like a neighborhood coffee shop can put people in a new headspace. Break problems down to their smallest components and encourage your team to share ideas as they come – even if it’s just popped into their head. An off-hand thought may transform into a fresh innovation.


Responsibility and control kindle confidence, and allow team members to put themselves more fully into a task or project. Break projects into portions that can be overseen by individual team members. If you have a gauge of your team’s individual strengths and talents, try pairing them with a role that will feed off the team members’ personal strengths. A developing designer should be given the opportunity to apply their knowledge to spatial or engagement issues. An engineer who loves puzzles can be asked to incorporate that strategic thinking with the task at hand.


A team that gets along can address problems more effectively. Find an activity or outing outside the confines of your assignment that will engage folks and keep them at ease while building up your relationship. This will change depending on the group and their interests. Maybe rec sports are the answer, or trivia night at a local pub. Whatever the outing, make sure it is something everybody would like to do. Take suggestions!

Get Inspired

Are there similar cases and problems that groups in your industry have faced? Creativity is often inspired by work that’s come before. Send your team digging for solutions and situations others have faced that are similar. Discerning others’ methods can provide a helpful opportunity to compare and contrast real-world solutions to your own project’s context and particular needs. Like Brainstorming, a gathered set of tangible ideas allows focus and connections to be drawn instead of working from scratch.

Creativity is an extension of ourselves. By giving your team the space and footing they need to put themselves into a project, and you’ll grow together and see colorful returns. Go forth and expand your palette.

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 “Originals are not that different from the rest of us. They feel fear and doubt, they procrastinate, they have bad ideas. And sometimes it’s not in spite of those qualities, but because of them that they succeed.” -Adam Grant


One of the great lessons I learned from Adam Grant’s recent TED Talk is that we shouldn’t write off people who have unconventional work styles or ways of doing things. Many inventive, creative people do not like to think linearly or complete tasks in step-by-step ways. Instead, they work best when they are given time to explore many different avenues or even step away from the task-at-hand for a while.

On the surface, this might seem like procrastination or a lack of motivation, but it is a part of many people’s creative process. Grant says, “Procrastination gives you time to consider divergent ideas, to think in nonlinear ways, to make unexpected leaps.”

Another thing original thinkers have in common: they have failures. They often explore many different routes before landing on a great idea. As Grant articulates, “The greatest originals are the ones who fail the most because they’re the ones who try the most.”

It’s like playing a game of darts. If you just keep making throws, you’ll likely hit your mark eventually.

As a leader, try to recognize the traits of original thinkers on your team and encourage their creativity and ingenuity.

And if you’re an original thinker? Embrace it! Realize that you might work differently than others, but your way of doing things probably works best for you.

To watch the full TED Talk (which I highly recommend), please click below.


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