Nine factors that can ruin a team’s creativity during collaborative work

It doesn’t matter if working with a team is part of your daily routine or if it’s something you only need to do for special assignments, it’s important to understand how to maintain creativity when working together. As different minds and personalities work together, creative thinking should develop – but there are a number of factors that can destroy it if everyone is not careful.

To avoid these causes, however, you must first identify them. Below, the nine members of the Young Entrepreneur Council discuss these destructive factors and what parties and their leaders can do to prevent them.

1. Too much or too little structure

Creativity is about finding the right balance between freedom and accountability. The most common way to destroy innovation is to provide too much or too little structure. We will never micromanage our team to do something new. A team that is told what to do and how to do it will, at best, follow your orders At the same time, too little structure is just as deadly. Unlimited creative discussion tends to derail or round up. The approach I’ve developed over the years is to focus hyperfocus on defining what the team is trying to solve and what success looks like, along with the expected timeline. In place of these railroads, the team is free to explore and think outside the box, keeping an eye on the rewards. When I do it well, we all win. – Alex Furman, invited

2. Leaders influence other people’s thinking

Always say the last word. As a leader, all you can do for your company is hire great people and give them the ability to deliver great results. When working together, give your team a chance to come up with ideas and make decisions without influencing their thinking. Very often, leaders will start a conversation, “Well, I think we should do XYZ. Let’s take a look around and hear what everyone else is thinking.” As it happens, creativity has already been killed because there is a lot of pressure to keep up with what was said. If you say the last word and share your perspective, it will allow other creative ideas (and often better ideas) to develop. – Arian Redmond, Ignitepost

3. Lack of teamwork

One thing that can quickly ruin a team’s creativity is a lack of teamwork. If not all members of the team feel that their role in the project is valued and welcomed, it may make them feel discouraged and unwilling, in the end they may fade any creative idea if they can feel like valuable team members. To ensure a collaborative project communicates creatively, everyone’s input should be heard and respected equally, even if it is not implemented. – Ismail Rixen, FE International

4. Failure to include everyone

The creativity of a team can be ruined if they fail to get the opinion and thoughts of every single person in a project. The whole point of collaboration is to bring together bright minds that create thought-provoking ideas. Failure to gather ideas from everyone can lead to disaster and loss of creativity. It is important that everyone has the opportunity to participate so that their ideas can be heard and considered. – Stephanie Wells, strong form

5. A culture that is critical or satirical

Fear of failure is the number one killer of creativity, which ultimately lies in shame. This sounds like a strange dichotomy, but if there is a culture set that is too critical or satirical, that throws down instead of building, there can be no creativity and innovation. The creative process is a weak process, and when we, as leaders, adopt a scenario that naturally allows people to be overly critical of themselves or their ideas and free from judgment, we employ the superpower that is creativity. We loot the project we are working on when we don’t. Not every idea is good, but every person who has an idea deserves respect and cannot be condemned for doing so, even if it is beyond his scope to act. – Nick D’Angelo, St. Investment Group

6. Too many obstacles

Creativity can be disrupted when barriers are strong. Instead of asking someone questions, interacting with the idea or pointing out how an idea will not work, allow them to speak politely before asking a question or responding to the idea. When obstacles arise before an idea can be fully shared, it discourages teams from sharing ideas that are out of the box. – Leila Lewis, PR Inspired

7. The word ‘no’

The “no” stops the conversation, and it is unlikely that the team members who heard it will contribute again. As a brainstorming session leader, evolve your thinking from “yes” or “no” to “what works” or “what needs to work”. When you are leading people on a large creative project, you will be in the role of a finishing chef who can add garnish, sauce or spices to almost any existing ideas. Leaders become brighter when they can say, “Look at my brilliant ideas,” instead of “Look at the great work my team has done.” Think long-term and stay open, and avoid blocking out new ideas from people who have the courage to think for the first time. – Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

8. Negativity

One of the things that can stop a team’s creativity in its tracks is negativity. I call it “throwing cold water on an idea.” This is when one or more people have an idea and others say it cannot be done. While some ideas may be out of the question, constant negativity in the flow of ideas will stifle one’s creativity. Negativity breeds once it starts, and soon no one is saying anything. The way to prevent this is to not reject any of the ideas mentioned earlier and you, as a team, write down all the ideas to think about the next day or so and see which one works best. – Baruk Labunsky, Rank Secure

9. Backchannel Conversation

Keep all conversations on the same channel. Multiple channels obviously may not derail creativity, but they do organize and force people to move in many directions. If there is a need to discuss specific tasks outside of the main channel of communication, it is different, but a lot of conversations on different channels about the same project is a great way to lose focus and speed and ultimately waste creativity. If you find yourself in a backchannel conversation, bring the conversation to the group and encourage the conversation about the backchannel. In this way, it can be useful and add value to group conversations and projects. – Matthew Capala, Alphamatic

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