Idea Agent by Lina M. Echeverría

This article was inspired by Lina M. Echeverría's Idea Agent . If you enjoy this article then consider purchasing or borrowing the book.


How to Lead without Crushing Creativity

“Leadership is a role of stewardship, of holding and developing the resources of the organization for the well-being of all.”

As technology and workplace diversity mold today’s industries, it is as important as ever that a business leader can manage employees without crushing creativity. As a manger, you will most likely work with a diverse group of employees and have to evaluate their innovations. In just seven steps, you can become a successful workplace leader.

For the first step, learn to resolve conflict well. Let others know that you want to solve the issue, but demonstrate that they have a say in the debate. Don’t bully your employees, no matter how petty their arguments may seem at the time.

The second step is to choose the right workers for your team. A holistic approach should be taken when hiring employees. You can expand on the hiring process, as you learn more about your prospective team. Allow members of the team to connect and demonstrate to you what the best group of workers will look like. Don’t be afraid to hire employees with radically different skills or perspectives.

Keeping the group together should concern you as a leader. Talk to your workers and get to know them. Observe how teammates behave towards one another and function as a group. Allow creative instincts to have a place in the team’s decisions.

Step three is to clarify your personal values with the team and to live by them. Demonstrate transparency to your employees, and appreciate their beliefs without compromising on your own.

The fourth step is to strive for quality and to make the group aware that this is your goal. Ensure that all members of the group are held equally accountable for failing to meet standards. Favoritism can only cause harm. Praise your workers when they succeed and evince an authentic interest in their work and skills.

Step five is to develop a culture at work that respects employees’ creativity and hard work. Give your team’s members plenty of opportunities to meet and bounce ideas off each other. Set aside an informal space for worker’s to meet and brainstorm. When employees achieve excellence, reward them. Gifts and recognition should be personalized and also equally valuable for any successful employee.

For the sixth step, establish an organizational process for your team to use. When all your workers understand each other’s abilities, they know who to approach for help. Clearly defined roles in a project are necessary for the team to excel.

The seventh and final step is to act as a genuine leader, with legitimate concern for the well-being of your employees and an internal consistency that others will admire. When it comes to rewards and punishments, be objective. Allow yourself to be approachable, even when you’re outside your comfort zone. In order to keep from crushing creativity, be yourself and support others when they do the same.

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