Secret Wish #11 — Creativity and Air Time

The world is at least one third introverts. Some would say half the population. The people you work with, your family, your spouse, many of these people do not want to have to shout you down to be heard.

Creativity has a lot to do with self-expression. If that is not happening with one third of a team there won’t be much productive work or innovation. Collaborative work means people need to be self-expressed in groups with a mix of introverts and extroverts (and as noted earlier this wee, with different creative styles). As Susan Cain has pointed out in Quiet, introverts are often drowned out.

Secret Wish #11 is a wish for air time. This is a person, Julia, with ideas to share and she never gets the chance. She’s angry. I’m not an introvert, but it’s not hard to imagine the resentment and anger that builds up in people who are excluded from a conversation. No wonder she wants to button everyone’s lip!

If you’re an introvert, let me encourage you to find creative ways to be heard. If you’re in a meeting and not getting heard, make a sign and hold it up — “I’d like a chance to talk!” Humour helps. Talk to the meeting organizer before or after a meeting and be direct about your expectation that he or she will manage group “dominators.”

If you’re an extrovert in a team meeting, now and then, give the quiet people a chance. In fact, facilitate it, ask — “Julia, do you have any thoughts on this?” Introverts can also help their fellows in the same fashion — “We haven’t heard from Mark…”

Allowing everyone air time is a fundamental for team productivity. Try being more deliberate about giving people the floor, the stage. Give them a voice. You’ll build more collaboration, get more ideas, and ultimately, more innovative results if everyone is included.

Posted in Cartoons by Gregg Fraley, Creative Problem Solving (CPS), Creativity and Self-Expression, Innovation