Five Ways to Cultivate Curiosity, Courage and Creativity in the Workplace

We live our life in full view, due to the ever-growing social media presence which, unfortunately, has left most of us feeling somewhat unsure in our abilities both at home and in our working life!

Some of your valuable employees are still finding ways to function in the workplace successfully through cultivating their own courage.

Others, however, are struggling to take risks, be innovative and creative in their place of work due to a fear of failure.

Here are 5 ways you, as an employer, and your managers, can cultivate curiosity, courage and creativity across your employees to unleash problem-solving, possibility-creating power of curious people.

 

1. FEAR IN THE WORKPLACE

Employees are finding it more and more difficult to exercise curiosity or ask questions in their place of work.  The office culture is often extremely pressurised and is an environment where the team or individual must never fail.  Fear of being a failure is now holding your employees back from asking questions, being curious and generally creating ideas.

The Solution

Begin team meetings with a reminder of what type of climate is ideal for courageous and creative ideas to emerge.  Make sure the whole team from the PA to the Senior Manager are brought into meetings where ideas are in their infancy and make sure everyone can have some input.  This approach may see some of your more driven team members exert control or dominance with their need to impress and outsmart others (social status).  Ensure that you build on everyone’s ideas and attempt to engage the whole team in the decision-making process to avoid ongoing conflict.

 

2. AVOID PUNISHING FAILURE

The risk of being curious at work inevitably entails occasional failure, the fear of which is the mortal enemy of creativity.  This fear can stop ideas flowing and can halt projects before they start.

The Solution

Establish a culture in which reasonable failure is understood as a setback worth taking if the long-term view is allowing your employees an opportunity to experiment and learn from results to foster innovation.  You could do this by creating an ideas wall.  By asking trigger questions in a planning meeting, you will engage both the introverts and the extroverts, working together creatively ensures a sense of achievement and opens a channel for the flow of ideas.

 

3. PROCESS OR RESULTS?

All Companies need processes to function especially large Corporate Organisations.  However, by an obsessive focus on how you do your job rather than getting the job done, completely eradicates creativity.

The Solution

Managers should look at the result and encourage curiosity about how best to attain it. It is a well-known fact, “if you want good work, you should give employees rules and maps” “if you want great work, give your employees an idea of what is of interest, a few constraints, and then let them uncover the strategies and tactics that work best”.

Top tip: Trust the people that you hired and trained — and give them autonomy.

4. GET INVOLVED

It’s true what they say – you need to lead by example.  If you are not demonstrating curiosity asking questions and leading from the front, then how can you expect your team to have the courage to view problems from multiple perspectives?

The Solution

Collect insight as often as you share it to help model curious behaviour.  You need to be championing problem-solving and the willingness to ask questions – these are leadership traits as important as imparting a firm command.  Use your active listening skills to engage with both your peers and your team.  Everyone is smart even if you think they are wrong.  You may learn something new!

 

5. THE RIPPLE EFFECT

If curiosity starts with one question, then should it be the responsibility of one person or the whole team to be creative?  The myth of the lone, curious creator should end in your workplace today!  It is a team that makes a good idea into a great idea from concept to delivery you cannot rely on one person to do that whole job!

The Solution

The ripple effect is simply the concept that when one manager or leader engages the right project teams with diverse interests, skills, strengths and past experiences to deliver successful results through creativity and innovation, then of course, other leaders and managers will follow.

 

The good news is that curiosity is both innate, and within us, thriving.   Act today – stop killing curiosity at work – which you may be doing subconsciously – and reverse this trend to create a happy, innovative workplace.

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