5 Tips to Foster a Creative Environment
Freedom from Criticism
In a creative environment each person has the freedom to explore new ideas and share those ideas, no matter how trivial and unimportant they may seem. Some of the best ideas germinate from the most off the wall concepts and are usually never very popular when first introduced into society. Don’t be so quick to say, “That will never work!” Rather, replace it with, “Tell me more about how this would function.” Replace “That’s been done before” with “Say how we could apply that to what we’re discussing.” Have patience, listen to others, allow yourself to be free from criticism and watch the ideas of those around you flourish.
Have Respect for Different Gifts
Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. Realize that nobody has the same gifts, and even if they appear to on the surface, perhaps the way they operate internally is dramatically different. Discover the hidden talents of those around you and help to exploit them, while at the same time recognizing their faults and helping to overcome them.
Use paraphrasing techniques to confirm your understanding of what is being said. Show the speaker that you are not just physically present, but that they have a captive audience and that their efforts are appreciated. In any relationship, when you know people are listening, you tend to make a greater effort to communicate more powerful ideas.
When it seems a discussion or meeting has come to a standstill, inject humor into the situation. Maintaining a light and playful air in a discussion, even when addressing an important or critical topic, will help distance those involved just enough to take a fresh approach. Be careful not to use humor that will negate from the importance or redirect discussion. Using a relevant sense of irony, typified by Shakespeare’s comedies, can help provide new insights into the problem.
Believe that everyone is Fallible (especially yourself)
Everyone makes mistakes and everyone has flawed ideas. Don’t assume you aren’t one of them. Entering into a discussion or a relationship with the belief that you have all the answers is an invitation for disaster. Humble yourself and recognize that others have great gifts and new ideas to offer. Even if you have a great idea, there may be a way to make it better!