Leading a team of creatives can be a tricky business even on a good day. While we don’t wish to generalize the group of people responsible for designing our logos, crafting our social media campaigns, inventing our next catchphrase, and other vital elements of business marketing, the unique natures of these imaginative professionals gives cause for developing a specific management approach around them.
If there is anything which truly unites the modern artisan class, it’s an urge to resist the status quo and operate outside the boundaries of the ordinary work environment. Management can consider this an affront to their existence or play ball. With most business models utterly dependent on decisive marketing, the answer – for the sane – is an easy one.
To successfully lead a team of creatives towards success, managers will want to utilize the following suggestions:
Realize it’s rarely a nine-to-five job behind a desk
The men and women who create the media most of us take for granted are not getting their inspiration from the workplace. They’re struck while walking their dog at nine at night or driven to sketch plans at four in the morning. Many who work in the graphic design field are prone to assemble scrapbooks of imagery and photos which they want to incorporate into their work. Management must utilize project planning tools designed to accommodate this sort of approach in order to organize creative processes into the context of the larger project. If a company wishes to capitalize on the output from a group of creative people in a cost-effective way, their ideas must be channeled into one siphon as quickly as possible. Otherwise, their ideas can become a disorganized scatter of work that gets lost in various communication channels.
Trust in their pride to produce quality work
The thing about most creative professionals is they take pride in their work. This is such the case that often creative professionals are more motivated to produce work for the sake of creativity than they are motivated by extrinsic factors, like pay. The fact they genuinely desire to generate a quality product ought to help managers breathe easier as things get down to the wire. While some managers may feel the need to closely oversee a project and provide a lot of feedback, it is often a good idea to allow creatives to work through their own methodologies and at their own pace – as long as they complete projects within specified deadlines.
The worst problems can usually be snuffed out at the hiring stage
The attribute which is unfairly spread across all creative professions is arrogance brought on by an over-inflated ego. The unfortunate truth is that the liberal art world is in no short supply of egos that far out-size the brains they spawn from. These individuals will indeed cause trouble for a team of creatives, but it can be prevented if management is keen to spot them at the hiring stage. Find people who are open to dissenting opinions and willing to approach things from new angles. It might not weed out every bad actor but it will help keep their numbers on the payroll very low.
Those whose talents lie in the creation of audio, imagery, and written content get lumped together under the umbrella of moody snowflakes and egomaniacs, but managers who set out to corral these professionals with such concepts in mind are usually doomed to fail. The truth is these men and women – despite their inherent objection to the ordinary – are not part of an anarchist movement that has infiltrated the business world. They want to create good work and get paid to do it, just like everyone else. Give them the tools and space to do their work and have faith it will get done and done well.