8. Don’t be controlling – be influential

Putting a creative idea out there in front of your colleagues and superiors can be daunting, so to boost the confidence of your team members you should be sure to welcome all ideas that come your way, no matter how out of the box they may be. If faced with an idea that simply isn’t right for the business, rather than dismissing it outright make a concerted effort to be enthusiastic and to talk through the ins and outs of the concept. In doing so, you can carefully and tactfully explain why the idea is not quite right, yet your team member will still feel appreciated for their creative thinking and will learn along the way. Plus, although an original idea may not be right, a discussion around it will often trigger new creative thoughts and lead to future bright ideas that your business could well utilise.

7. Make brainstorming a regular occurrence

Brainstorming doesn’t have to be restricted to specific projects; sometimes it’s helpful to practice group brainstorming to discuss general ways in which your business could improve. Consider organising sessions outside of the office to break the day-to-day routine and mindset of your team and stimulate some creative thinking. Encourage members of different teams to get together for this process, and make sure everyone has an opportunity to speak so that the quieter voices are able to share their thoughts. Plan what you’ll discuss too, and let the team know ahead of time. You might ask them to come up with five things the company could do differently to improve, or tell them to think of one way in which they think their department could be more productive. Encourage ideas both big and small – a suggestion for a new coffee machine in the kitchen may not seem as ground-breaking as an idea for a new line of products, but both could impact the business positively in very different ways.

A controlling leader is not one which stimulates creativity, so be sure to influence rather than control, particularly when it comes to ideas. For example, don’t push forward with your ideas over your team’s, particularly if they don’t seem to willingly agree that yours is the best. Don’t keep throwing new ideas their way either – give them a few suggestions and encourage them to come up with their own. By being creative yet welcoming of creativity from others, your team will be influenced to do exactly the same.

9. Reward and incentivise innovative thinking

It isn’t always part of an employee’s role to come up with new ideas, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have them. To give them an incentive to speak up about new ideas, consider implementing a rewards system of some kind to show how much your appreciate the creativity of all members of staff.

10. Implement ‘ideas boxes’

Inspiration often hits us at the most random moments, so have an outlet for staff to get their great ideas down at any time with a simple ‘ideas box’. You can then have more detailed conversations about the ideas at later points to encourage staff to embellish on their bright ideas.

11. Action good ideas , no matter who came up with them

Sometimes ideas only get actioned when they’ve come from a senior member of staff, leaving members to feel disheartened that their ideas aren’t taken seriously. Whenever you hear a good idea, be sure to action it in some way and let the member of staff know about it. They will feel empowered and inspired to keep up with their creative thinking, and confident enough to speak up about future ideas that they may have.