Creative thinking stifled by pressure and lack of leadership.

75 per cent of workplaces are not ‘positive’.

A study of 1,000 workplaces published in Thinking On Your Feet, a report by the commercial arm of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, RADA Business, has found that almost half (41 per cent) of UK workplaces implement practises that have a detrimental effect on employee empowerment and their ability to think creatively. The study also reveals that 75 per cent of workplaces lack the right environment to enable improvisation to thrive, leaving workers feeling unsupported and stressed.

When quizzed on the things that impact their ability to relax and think on their feet at work, 41 per cent of respondents listed time pressures as the biggest setback. Unrealistic expectations (33 per cent) was the second biggest difficulty faced in the workplace, followed by a poor workplace culture (25 per cent).

A lack of understanding from a boss or manager (21 per cent) was the fourth biggest issue hindering workers’ abilities to remain calm and respond appropriately to situations, and fifth on the list was a lack of support from colleagues (21 per cent).

When asked about the negative and positive impact of leadership, more than half (53 per cent) said they disliked being placed under the spotlight in meetings by their manager, yet 38 per cent said they felt empowered and relaxed when trusted to make decisions.

“Building a workplace culture and environment that fosters successful improvisation is crucial to the success of any business – employees should feel confident in their ability to respond to questions and problems in the moment, creatively, and without fear of repercussions from senior staff,” explained Kate Walker Miles, a tutor at RADA Business who specialises in improvisation and leadership. “Discovering that such a high proportion of the UK’s workforce doesn’t feel empowered and supported in their place of work, could be a result of dizzying pressures and lack of strong leadership, which could have a huge impact on a business’ commercial outcomes and employee satisfaction.

“The importance of creating a safe space at work for people to contribute original ideas without fear of judgement is imperative to changing a culture embedded in a fear of getting something wrong. Organising a safe environment to brainstorm and having a clear process for moving innovation forward, are key factors that can be underpinned by a supportive management team – aiding a healthy workplace culture.”

RADA Business believe that the body is one of the most powerful tools leaders have for moving others, especially when they’re in the spotlight and highly visible. Any fixed or rigid position in the body, tends to link to a corresponding rigidity (mentally and emotionally) and other people notice this. Leadership and solving problems requires constant balancing and rebalancing. Kate concludes: “There are some brilliant, yet simple, techniques available to employees at all levels of business to help them manage stress, think clearly, offer and receive new ideas and deliver to the best of their abilities.”

To read more about RADA Business’ training, please visit: radabusiness.com.

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