Leadership Question: How do you encourage creativity from your team?

How do you encourage "outside the box" thinking from your team?

One of the things I do as a leader is to find leaders in all areas of our culture, make an appointment with them and then I ask them questions. I don’t want to waste their time, so I have a list of questions already prepared.  Today is what I call a “leadership question” answered.  
The answer is my answer, but know it is from taking the answers from all these leaders, applying them and evaluating what worked in Women’s Ministry.
Where do you come up with all that? How do you encourage thinking outside the box, with your team?

Zip my lip. 

When I meet with the team, I throw out the vision or the problem and then put the shut to the up. I let them discuss it.  I let them get to the solution.  Sometimes I’m tempted to get to the point (we don’t have all day, guys).  But if I do that I somehow put a small stop in their creative flow.  You see I want them to grow, I want to see each person on the team to step up to their potential.  I want each member on the team or staff to be able to think for themselves. When I step in, they step out.  When I interrupt with what I believe to be the solution, I create a political environment. Who wants politics in church? The team becomes hesitant to disagree with me.  Instead of focusing on the solution they are now trying to figure out how to get my ear and get their way. 

Recruit some outsiders. 

Get someone on the outside looking in’s perspective to share with the team. When putting a team together, recruit from different demographics and generations.  And allow them to be themselves.  Encourage the team to read autobiographies and books outside their area of influence, such as marketing, business, justice. Get them to some conferences, not only is it a great retreat, but also inspiring.

Recognize creative thinking.   

 If I want more creative thinking on the team, then I recognize it in front of everybody.  Recognize them for their contributions and do it sincerely. 

Create a safe place, an incubator. 

If people don’t feel safe, they will offer nothing to the table.  This means you will be the only one coming up with all the ideas. This also means no one feels ownership and will not put their all into it.  Ownership is key to commitment. I believe one of the reasons so many women’s ministry leaders are combing the internet for new ideas, for events, fellowship, counseling etc.. is because their team, if they have one, are treated as workers for the queen bee.  If people feel like the temps or “rented” they aren’t going to stick around for long. People want to feel like they belong, not used!  So create a place that is safe for them to be themselves without fear of being ashamed or embarrassed by their ideas. Allow some room for them to implement those ideas.  You might have the next Joyce Meyers, Lisa Bevere, “Women of Faith” on your hands, let them grow outside the box and bring on the revolution!

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