Waiting is hard.
Waiting is especially hard for leader types.
The process of creativity and innovation requires waiting. You can’t
force the creative process. Of course, a creative person also pays the
price of discipline. You’ll never be creative if you don’t make regular
space for the process. Yet, creativity is indeed like the ocean, we are
like the surfers.
Leaders, who seek to develop innovative and creative teams, will
occasionally need to lead their teams into active waiting. This is the
moment where ambiguity is thick and solutions are thin. Here are some
ways to invite a team into the active waiting process:
- Help the team understand the seasons of creativity. Have a
conversation about ambiguity and why sometimes it’s part of the process
of creativity. This can help the team relax through the difficult time.
- Invite the team to pay attention to the clues that could lead to the creative spark. Creativity usually pops out like an “aha” moment. Though we can’t force
those moments, we can be watching for them. If we have an attitude of
expectation as a team that the innovative solution is coming and that
we are giving our best attention and thinking to it, it’s more likely
we’ll see it when it emerges.
- Point back to a time in the team’s history when active waiting made
a difference. Examples of the past, can give a team the courage to wait
through a current season of ambiguity.
- Keep the issue in front of the team without unhealthy pressure to
solve it. Talk about it, consider options, but do it in a way that
keeps the team engaged in the process rather than fearful that they
will be in trouble if they don’t hurry up and solve the issue.
What other things have you done to help a team with active waiting?