Like anything, if a leader wants to foster creativity in the workplace they have to make it a habit.

Creative leaders encourage innovation and avoid putting limits or boundaries on creativity.

Here are seven habits of leaders that will help develop a creative workforce.

Encourage Field Trips

If everyone is always in the office, how can you ever expect employees to be inspired? They’re looking at the same walls, the same cubicles, and the same artwork. Creativity is born from a spark of inspiration. No one can be inspired if they rarely leave the building. Encourage them to leave for lunch. Have one day a week where they can leave early to go to a museum or cultural event. These kinds of experiences get the creative juices flowing.

Give Employees Time to Be Creative

Demanding creativity on the spot is unrealistic. How many people think of a brilliant idea on command? Instead, ask your staff to brainstorm on something and come to a meeting with a three ideas to pitch. This requires them to have a measurable goal (three ideas).

It also allows them time to ruminate on what to pitch. They’ll have time to eliminate unrealistic or less exciting ideas before the meeting begins.

Encourage Active Dialogue on Creative Ideas

A good idea can come from anywhere. Discussing creative events, campaigns, ideas or innovations is a great way to get employees thinking about how they can apply some of those ideas to their own work. When talking about interesting things is part of company culture, it breeds a general acceptance and encouragement of creativity.

Don’t Put Limits on Ideas

Limits limit ideas. Limits limit creativity. When you give your team a creative task let them think about ideas without restrictions. This allows the mind to really find interesting solutions and innovative ideas.

Once the idea or ideas are decided upon, they can be adjusted to fit a budget or timeline. Although, sometimes the ideas can be great enough to present to a client that they’ll adjust a budget or timeline.

Be Genuinely Curious

Creative leaders are genuinely curious. They read. They attend cultural events. They find beauty in nature and in art. This quest for knowledge and inspiration is a gateway to help foster creativity. Being genuinely curious about the world allows more opportunities to be creative.

Encourage the Wild and Outrageous

Creativity doesn’t bow down to those who play it safe. The best campaigns, slogans, ideas and innovations have come from an idea that is left of center. A creative leader will encourage their staff to think outside the box, and will never dismiss a wild idea.

These wild ideas are often what can change an industry, a company or a product. Being open to something completely out of the ordinary is sometimes the best medicine for developing creativity.

They Aren’t Rigid with Schedules

Allowing your employees to be more flexible with their schedules will not only spark creativity, it will allow them to be more motivated. No one want to feel controlled. Giving flexibility to employees allows them to include more things in their life that make them happy.

Eliminating the stress of missing out on these important events (a workout, a kid’s recital or soccer game, etc) helps to create happier and less stressed employees. This gives them more energy and time to devote to being creative.

Originally published on Ladders.

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