Anyone working in a creative capacity has been subject to the dreaded mental block. No matter what you do, inspiration is hard to find and you can wind up feeling like you’re stuck in a rut. And, if you manage others, it’s just as frustrating when you notice your usually high-functioning employees stuck in a creative slump.
You know your team’s’ potential, but how can you shake off a creative slump and get your employees to fire on all creative cylinders again? The answers might be counterintuitive, but giving your team space and yes, even boredom, to feel inspired is what works for us. Try these with your own team to break through a creative impasse:
Picture a kid sent outside for the afternoon: no tablets; no video games; just a backyard. Does he simply sit on the grass and wait for the afternoon to end? No. Kids are masters of creativity, especially in the face of boredom. Suddenly, a stick becomes a lightsaber, and a pile of rocks transforms into a Storm Trooper army.
Boredom is actually a key ingredient for sparking inspiration. Giving employees time to think, reflect, and be less busy overall can help give them the time they need to problem solve and come up with some of their best ideas. A creative slump is one of the most reliable indicators of a crushing workload. Resist the temptation to load employees to their full bandwidth all the time. Schedule personal days with strict instructions to not check emails, or take your team for a laid back afternoon at the beach or golf course.
Lunch and Learn
A department is not an island. Collaboration is one of the most effective ways to get employees to think through conflict and challenges with refreshed perspective, but too often an organization’s departments are siloed so collaboration opportunities are few and far between.
Lunch n’ Learns are low-key events where team members with special strengths or skills facilitate a meeting to pass on some of their mastery to other employees, no matter their department. This type of collaboration means looking outside the usual suspects for inspiration and innovation, which helps to jump-start creativity within each department.
Don’t let your learning bring on the creative slump, ask how we can make it engaging here.
High-stress environments can definitely kill creativity and put your employees in a funk. Packed schedules and demanding clients might be unavoidable, so make sure you give your employees time to kick back, destress, and have fun together. Even something as simple as a half-hour game of Pictionary can be enough for employees to shake off the tension and get back into an innovative mind space. A weekly game gives employees something to look forward to, especially when deadlines loom and the going gets tough.
No eureka moment was ever found when forced. Creativity and innovation aren’t found, but rather their something that finds you. Unfortunately, most hectic work environments do the exact opposite, forcing employees into spaces that are anything but inspirational. By creating a workplace culture that allows the space, time, and collaboration required, your employees can snap out of a slump and flex their creative muscles for the benefit of the entire organization.