Edward Glassman : Self-Direction, Self-Motivation Helps Team Creativity
How Self-Direction & Self-Motivation Helps Innovation & Team Creativity
By Edward Glassman, PhD
Leaders do not always know how to boost creative effort in their team. These suggestions can help.
Self-directed activity with high inner motivation helps creative efforts. Internal rewards for solving a problem creatively include the challenge, excitement, enjoyment, interest, novelty, a sense of control over one's work, curiosity, positive feedback to oneself on competence, etc.
In contrast, external rewards (focusing on salary raises, promotion, awards, etc.) spoil creative thinking by distracting people from the daily enjoyment of creative work.
Thus, train people toward responsible self direction: "responsible" because they respect organizational goals; and "self-direction" because they become self-motivated to:
Encourage Participative Interactions in Meetings
When you dominate meetings, you hinder people from solving problems creatively and reduce self-direction. Participative interaction in meetings occur when you and your work group:
If your team lacks these skills, consider team excellence training. Research has shown that trained work groups often produce creative solutions of high quality. These approaches focus discussion on relevant topics and help achieve consensus, while increasing team cohesiveness. Commitment to implement decisions also increases.
In contrast, untrained work groups frequently produce outcomes of lower quality. Such work groups often contain dominating individuals or cliques who pursue personal agendas rather than group goals. Use 'self-directed team building,' described in my book, to develop creative thinking, teamwork, and cooperation.
Negotiate Disagreements Creatively
Negotiating disagreements using win-win problem-solving techniques can help people become more self-directed and more creative when solving problems. Success depends on your ability to:
If you do not possess these skills, you may want to learn them or call in a third party to help manage conflict.
Empower subordinates for innovation & creativity through challenging tasks. Do not confuse this with making changes in routine work tasks that lead to job enlargement or mere job rotation. True empowerment occurs when you:
Changes like these encourage more self-direction and creative thinking in your work group.
Use Participative Goal Setting and Performance Appraisal
Mutual description of the subordinate's job roles, mutual setting of work goals, and mutual evaluation of goal accomplishment boost creative output.
Consider reversing the usual goal setting procedure. Instead of telling your goals, ask each person in your work group to state his or her goals. If you like them, back them to the hilt, and encourage creative effort. If you do not accept them, negotiate mutually acceptable goals.
People in your work group need the following skills to carry out organization goals responsibly with a minimum of supervision:
These are just a few ways you can help creativity in your work unit. List your own ideas on how you will lead your team for greater creativity at work. •
© 2010 by Edward Glassman. All rights reserved.
Edward Glassman, PhD was the President of the Creativity College®, a division of Leadership Consulting Services, Inc., and Professor Emeritus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he headed the Program For Team Effectiveness And Creativity. More »