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Tapping into your employees’ creativity in a time of need

April 13, 2020 GMT
Michael A. Roberto, D.B.A., Bryant University Trustee Professor of Management, and Author of "Unlocking Creativity," says, "The best leaders will tap into the creativity of all employees, no matter their level in the hierarchy or level of formal authority." He offers senior leaders five simple strategies to unleash the creativity of their employees to solve a myriad of challenging problems. (PRNewsfoto/Bryant University)
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Michael A. Roberto, D.B.A., Bryant University Trustee Professor of Management, and Author of "Unlocking Creativity," says, "The best leaders will tap into the creativity of all employees, no matter their level in the hierarchy or level of formal authority." He offers senior leaders five simple strategies to unleash the creativity of their employees to solve a myriad of challenging problems. (PRNewsfoto/Bryant University)
1 of 2
Michael A. Roberto, D.B.A., Bryant University Trustee Professor of Management, and Author of "Unlocking Creativity," says, "The best leaders will tap into the creativity of all employees, no matter their level in the hierarchy or level of formal authority." He offers senior leaders five simple strategies to unleash the creativity of their employees to solve a myriad of challenging problems. (PRNewsfoto/Bryant University)

SMITHFIELD, R.I., April 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- During this tumultuous time, organizations face a variety of perplexing problems and challenges. Some of these issues may seem intractable to the senior management teams at many firms. Executives will need to think creatively to develop solutions that meet the pressing needs of their customers and other constituents. The answers will not always come from the top. The best leaders will tap into the creativity of all employees, no matter their level in the hierarchy or level of formal authority. For far too long in far too many firms, executives have sent the implicit message that they desire compliance and control, rather than creativity. They talk a good talk about innovation, but don’t walk the walk. That must change during this time of crisis.

What can senior leaders do to unleash the creativity of their employees to solve a myriad of challenging problems? Here are five simple strategies that they can employ:

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These strategies offer practical ways in which leaders can engage with a broad set of employees in critical problem-solving work. Most importantly, though, leaders need to send the signal that they genuinely believe that they have much to learn from their employees. They need to demonstrate some vulnerability and acknowledge what they do not know in these turbulent times. Stress that you don’t have all the answers and that you appreciate all the help you can get. Identify specific issues about which you believe others may have something valuable to contribute. Making people feel valued in this way can often stimulate them to come forward with terrific ideas. In sum, if you acknowledge you don’t have all the answers, and simply pose a few thoughtful questions to your people, you will be amazed at what you can learn from them.

Michael A. Roberto, is Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University, Harvard DBA, and author of a number of books on leadership. In his latest book ” Unlocking Creativity: How to Solve Any Problem and Make the Best Decisions by Shifting Creative Mindsets ” (Wiley, 2019), Roberto describes six organizational mindsets that block creativity and how to shift mindsets to tap into the creative power of an organization. Roberto’s work has been featured in Forbes, CNBC,Medium, Freakonomics Radio, Investors Business Daily.

About Bryant University
For 157 years, Bryant University has been at the forefront of delivering an exceptional education that anticipates the future and prepares students to be innovative leaders of character in a changing world. Located on a contemporary campus in Smithfield, R.I., Bryant enrolls approximately 3800 undergraduate students from 38 states and 49 countries. Bryant is recognized as a leader in international education and regularly receives top rankings from U.S. News and World Report, Money, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Wall Street Journal, College Factual, and Barron’s. Visit www.Bryant.edu

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SOURCE Bryant University