The success of a team project depends on the contributions of your team members. However, it’s not always easy to encourage everyone to pitch in their ideas. Some members may be introverted and feel reticent, but as long as a leader leads by example, they should feel motivated to contribute.
Communication is a very important skill that every leader must maintain. The ability to speak in a calm and clear manner may inspire your team members to do the same. Excellent communication allows exchange of ideas and improves relationships. A skilled communicator will definitely encourage a team to speak up.
Here are ways to encourage your team to share innovative ideas:
10 effective ways to get your team to share their ideas
- Encourage team ownership. Your team members will contribute more and be inspired to work harder if they feel a sense of ownership in the project. Communicate openly, so they fully understand the project as much as you do. Don’t keep information from them and ask for their help when needed.
Give them the freedom to provide their own opinions on different problems or solutions. If they see that you try to control the whole run of the project, they may perceive it as yours rather than theirs. Provide them with a chance to show their ideas to motivate them.
- Give everyone a chance to speak. It’s natural to have extroverted and introverted people in your team. However, an outspoken and self-confident person doesn’t always translate to better ideas compared to a shy person, but outspoken people have a better chance of being heard and have their ideas considered.
You can consider facilitative coaching and get the best out of it by giving everyone an equal opportunity to speak. Assess every suggestion fairly and not based on the personality of the person giving it. If you don’t like an idea, avoid criticizing severely as they might view it as rejection.
- Be a good example. To inspire your team members, be an example to them by contributing to all aspects of the project. Keep a positive attitude and be highly motivated, as well as welcome new ideas and solutions. Listen to your team’s suggestions and make time to work through any problems with them.
- Make everyone a leader. Make your team collaborative rather than hierarchical to give every member a leadership role. You can assign responsibilities based on each member’s talents to have them take on a leadership role while also being a follower. This will greatly improve your team’s collaboration.
- Don’t limit feedback and sharing of ideas. Avoid restricting feedback and idea sharing during your meetings as this might make your team feel discouraged. If they feel that they don’t have the chance to give their opinions or feedback, they might feel ridiculed, annoyed, or bored during your meeting sessions.
- Encourage feedback and a collaborative work culture. You can encourage feedback by making it clear to everyone that it’s acceptable, including managers and coworkers. Simply letting your team know that they are free to share their ideas is enough to have a collaborative and successful work culture.
- Reward great ideas, but don’t punish bad ones. Some companies provide small monetary rewards to employees with good suggestions. This encourages them and makes them feel acknowledged so they share their ideas. However, for team members with poor suggestions, avoid mocking or denigrating their thoughts, instead, make them feel acknowledged for sharing their ideas and help them develop .
- Create multiple avenues for feedback. You can create online systems, suggestion boxes or brain storming sessions to provide multiple avenues for your employees’ feedback and ideas. These environments will make them feel that they can contribute important ideas, compared to traditional employee review sessions.
- Don’t overwhelm them with information. Don’t bombard your team with too much information during your meetings. If you discuss too abstract or complex topics, they can end up being confused with too much information. Instead, keep them engaged by asking questions or giving them a chance to provide input.
- Explain the consequences of participating. Let your team know the importance of speaking up instead of punishing them if they don’t contribute to the conversation. For instance, an employee who’s confused with a task but not speaking up can eventually impact their productivity.
Inspire your team to share their ideas by following these ways in making them comfortable to speak up. Make them feel that their thoughts are important and valued as they are a member of the organization. Each member’s words and actions are essential to your project’s success.