There was a great story in the New York Times on Sunday about a guy who created a niche and found a new job within his company. By proving that he could improve on an existing system, this employee made himself more valuable to his team and became a unique contributor. From a team building perspective, my first thought while reading the article was about the system within this organization. This leadership group welcomed input and innovation from employees and rewarded it, yielding benefits for all.
One of the great things about the team building work we do is that we get to witness the reduction of communication static and hierarchy during our programs. Music is a leveler, and we often discover that an employee may have more outwardly creative skill than the CEO. In this context, leadership patterns can shift, allowing better communication, increasing employee confidence and engagement.
When employees feel confident, it’s easier for them to suggest new ideas and improvements. It’s easier for members of your team to become agents for change, knowing their ideas will be considered and valued. As a musician, I never labeled the work I did as innovative. But I was always comfortable experimenting, falling flat on my face, getting back up and trying again. I was rewarded for this behavior with success. And that fueled a great cycle of inspiration, innovation and more success.You can create these conditions within your organization by doing some team building, either informal or formal. The first step is to let your team members know that their ideas are heard; that their ideas are honored. If you do, you’ll see employee creativity, engagement and retention rise.
The best answers only come after allowing the questions to live –
- How do you respond to new ideas from your team members?
- Do you allow employees to spend time at play – playing with current problems and playing with new solutions?
- Does your corporate culture reward the change agents within your ranks?