Managing Employees

The Enhancement of Organizational Creativity

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

Organizational creativity does not come by spontaneously but rather it is developed through sustained encouragement. The entrepreneurial manager is the one who sees to it that the organizational environment is befitting for the flourishing of creativity, both within him/her and for the employees as well. Creativity can be enhanced in the same way as innovation.

The entrepreneurial employer/manager will spur organizational creativity with the use of the following actions:

  • Expecting creativity – Here the employer will seek to give employees the space to become creative. Employees will have the 'freewill' to imaginatively challenge the normal way of doing things with an aim to come up with new innovative ideas.
  • Anticipating and tolerating errors and failure – Creativity is all about taking chances and this certainly means that failure is an expected outcome just as much as success is. The employer should be quick to realize this and be proactive in assuring employees that failure is part of the innovative process. The worst approach would be to admonish failures as this will serve to instill fear and stifle organizational creativity.
  • Viewing difficulties as challenges – With every difficulty or problem there is always an opportunity to become creative.
  • Management should introduce and provide some level of organizational creativity training.
  • Providing support – Organizational creativity cannot be developed in any other way other than the normal stage-wise process that humans follow. With this in mind the management should see to it that employees are facilitated with all the resources required for every stage including time to 'daydream' and the necessary resources to 'play'.
  • Creativity should be rewarded – Various tokens of reward should be bestowed on employees who have excelled at being creative. The reward may be in form of money, recognition, celebration, praise etc.
  • Modeling creativity – The entrepreneurial manager should lead by example and show the rest that it is important to take chances and to challenge the norm.

The facilitation of organizational creativity is curtailed in organizations which show inclination towards the following:

  • That reflection and fantasizing are a mere waste of time and are a product of sheer laziness
  • That problem-solving is a really serious task and that humor and play shouldn't feature anywhere near such engagements
  • That showing feeling and emotion is a sign of weakness and a hindrance to objectivity
  • That insight and intuition are both impractical and illogical

A prudent employer/manager will seek to alter these misconceptions and replace them with an environment where employees are unafraid to feel silly and insecure. This will thus be the perfect platform for the development of organizational creativity.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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