As a leader, how do you access the most creative thinking when dealing with issues?
Creativity is not genetically encoded. Anyone can learn to think creatively. The key is to use both the left and right hemispheres of the brain: logical and intuitive, respectively. Start by immersing yourself in a problem. Use the logical left side of your brain to understand what you know about the topic. Then switch to the right side by distancing yourself from the issue and mulling over the information. Exercise is a good way to access the visual nature of the right hemisphere. It often leads to an "ah-ha moment" where you see a new solution. Then switch back to the left hemisphere to challenge your creative breakthrough with rational thinking.
All this said, you can also access creative thinking by drawing on the wisdom of your staff. If it's an issue that requires creative thinking in the workplace then it's an issue that others will care about. Be sure to include them in the thinking around the issue. If you don't, the only creativity you'll access is your own. That may be enough in some situations but strong schools/organizations are built on collaborative and collective wisdom, not the thinking of an individual.
Adapted from "How to Think Creatively" by Tony Schwartz.