Creativity requires trust

Building a creative team requires building a trusting team.

Being creative is an act of courage-- it means doing something that is unexpected, or hasn't been done before. It can be an uncomfortable space to be in.

Often, to arrive at those creative ideas, you need to go through a lot of really bad ideas. The bad ideas are there to help you build up to what really works -- it's like how I write. I write so many articles and blog posts that are either unfinished, or finished but unshared. The important thing is that I'm writing them. Without putting in the time and effort to show up every day and write, it would be near impossible to eventually write something worth sharing. 

All those words that sit unread help me build up to the posts that I do share. It's easier to do this as a single individual, because I have no one judging me for my "bad" work. Those words I type exist only for me to see -- so I don't need to feel worried that someone will laugh at me for writing something bad.

In a team, that's obviously different. If you want people to share their creative thoughts, it means building an environment where people feel free to suggest all the silly and ridiculous ideas. Those things are offered to the group and sometimes spark more ideas, and those ideas build on each other, and so on-- until the team arrives at the perfect solution.

With a trusting team, people don't need to be afraid. They can share openly. If people don't have trust between themselves, then all those ideas stay locked up in their minds, and there's no spark for others to work off of. 

If you're in a position of leading a team coming up with a creative problem to solve, build that trust in the team. Be fully open yourself and suggest ridiculous things. Try problem solving something fictional first, and get everyone having fun and laughing about it. Then move into the real problem, and keep that fun and positive energy going. I really think that creativity should be a fun and iterative process. It's all about exploring and inviting the unusual and seeing what works and what doesn't. 

Build that trust with your team. Let people be ridiculous, because sometimes it's those ridiculous ideas that lead to the best ones. Creativity isn't a chore-- it's something to be celebrated, and it's a process of iterating and trying. Make sure to build an environment of "yes, and" instead of "no". Hearing no doesn't help you explore a new thought, even if that thought at first doesn't sound remotely possible. It just kills the thought process, and resets you back to zero.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our Productivity Monk monthly newsletter. We'll share more stories, great books to read, the latest posts, and more.