Three Steps to Building Your Team’s Creative Confidence – Part Three

3 min read

In the previous two parts of this article, I covered, in-depth, the first two steps teams can take to build their creative confidence. As a reminder those first two steps are:

  1. Rally around a common cause
  2. Leave your comfort zone (a little)

Now, I’ll conclude with one of the open secrets about improving creativity and creative confidence which is the power of collaboration.

Step Three: Collaborate on creative efforts

Collaboration serves as a powerful antidote to resisting creative work. Any creative effort shared across a team – especially a diverse team – will feel not only less intimidating but also more inspired. By combining the perspectives and contributions of all team members in service of a creative goal, the end result is invariably more inclusive and satisfying to all involved.

As a team’s leader, it is critical to make sure that these collaborations take place in an environment of psychological safety. The very best creativity has a significant tolerance for “out there” ideas and contributions that, in and of themselves, might not be the right ones but can lead to surprising and highly effective solutions. In my songwriting collaborations with platinum-selling, GRAMMY-winning artists like Ke$ha, Keb’ Mo’, Lisa Loeb and Grateful Dead Drummer, Mickey Hart,  it is often immediately after a seemingly “out there” suggestion that a lyrical contribution will get us to the heart of our song’s message. By contrast, critiquing a lyric idea (or any idea for that matter) during collaborations can result in shutting down an artist’s willingness to make themselves vulnerable which is the source of the best and most moving ideas. One of my favorite examples is when I sat down to write with Broadway Star, Crystal Monee Hall (Rent), and the first words out of her mouth were, “I’m a little bit tired of singing about love.” Instead of dismissing or even ignoring Crystal’s concerns, I simply suggested we make her exact words the opening line of our song. Collaboration on any creative endeavor whether in the arts or a brainstorming session around a new product or service works best when it honors vulnerability and trust. When the two exist together, the results will undoubtedly bring the participants’ creative confidence to new heights.


I’d like to wrap up this three-part series by restating the definition of creative confidence. Creative confidence is a willingness to accept the temporary uncertainty and chaos that comes with creative exploration due to the belief in your ability to achieve what you set out to do. What team leader in their right mind wouldn’t want their team to be able to handle chaos and uncertainty and to believe in their ability to achieve their goals? Creative confidence is like jet fuel for a team’s motivation and productivity. Even better, building a team’s creative confidence can be broken down into the three steps below:

  1. Rally around a common cause
  2. Leave your comfort zone (a little)
  3. Collaborate on creative efforts

Take it from a creative professional whose been working with business teams for close to a decade and, all modesty aside, can routinely boost a team’s creative confidence by over 50% in the matter of an hour, this stuff really works.


Find out more about Cliff’s innovation & creativity programs for business teams and organizations.

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