Managing creative employees is not always easy; you need to maintain a balance. As you encourage your people to explore, experiment and take risks, you also have to make sure they meet specific deadlines and expectations within the budget. Furthermore, as you keep these initiatives on track, you also have to ensure that your people have a large supply of inspiration, or else their creative juices might stop flowing.
In order to accomplish these objectives, creative leaders have to establish an open and comfortable working environment, where everyone works together in harmony with a focus on developing ideas that will make your brand (or your clients’ businesses) better. This could also mean exerting more patience and understanding on your part. Without further ado, here are some ways you can apply when handling a creative team.
Creative minds that work together synergistically benefit any type of business. Good teamwork not only improves morale in the workplace, it also increases profits. This is because when workers are productive at their job, they are more likely to work together to deliver a creative solution. That said, create a culture that sets aside individual achievements but rather emphasizes the value of teamwork.
There are many ways to improve teamwork within your organization. It could start with having team building activities on a monthly or quarterly basis. This does not mean leaving the work premises or asking your remote employees to meet in person. Oftentimes, a computer installed with video conferencing software – like Skype, Zoom, RingCentral and Zoho Meeting – will work just fine. You can set an hour for each month to meet your staff and get to know each other and collaborate ideas in a casual way.
Great teamwork could also mean understanding each one’s skills and knowledge. While it is crucial that your team adheres to deadlines, as a creative manager, you should also understand that impressive design and content takes time. No matter how experienced a designer or writer is, they can still face creative block once in a while. That said, give your creative staff a deadline that has a little bit of space for emergencies. If the client needs the output by Friday, you can set an internal deadline on Wednesday or Thursday.
Open communication is at the core of excellent teamwork. Strong teams communicate effectively and frequently. Their members take delight in sharing ideas, brainstorming together and asking for feedback. They view criticisms as an opportunity to improve themselves at work.
When managing creative employees, you will find that not everyone will always agree. For instance, your graphic designers may have contradicting concepts about a new project. Each of your content writers may have his/her own writing style. Your social media strategist may not see eye to eye with another strategist. But through effective communication, your employees are well suited to setter their differences and work toward a common goal. They focus on the output and not on their individual preferences.
So how do you enable good communication within your people? Start by listening to each one of them. Consider their point of views before you offer your own input. Find out how your designers can combine their ideas in a way that nobody will feel useless. Or how your content strategists can employ their individual expertise while ensuring that brand guidelines are met.
Make use of digital apps. Managing creative employees has never been easier in this modern age. There are literally hundreds of online tools you can take advantage of, with each one capable of providing their own unique solutions for your communication needs – whether it is via email, voice chat or face-to-face meeting. Examples of tools where you can communicate and collaborate are Trello, Slack and Zoho Cliq.
Don’t be too controlling. Always allow enough space for your team’s input and creativity. For example, directing every little design change might move your designer away from the creative process. This, eventually, can lead them to give up their artistic input altogether. Once this occurs, your designers may feel inefficient and lose their morale.
This extends true to the other creatives in your team. Your social media strategists might appreciate some solitude when doing their research. Your video editors may desire fewer distractions when finalizing video content. It is therefore important to know when you need to step back and trust in the ability and talent of your staff. While giving formal creative reviews is essential, make sure to offer help only when it is necessary.
Creative freedom is important but don’t forget to provide candid feedback. Creative professionals will appreciate your suggestions and constructive criticism. Instead of just saying “I don’t like your design” or “This blog post doesn’t match the client’s tone”, get down to the details. Discuss with the graphic designer the kind of colors and fonts the client prefers. Or tell the writer that the article should appeal to the young audience, and thus, has to sound friendly and use a lot of slangs.
Managing creative employees can be complex and demanding. This role is not even for everyone. The key to handling creative professionals lies in positive company culture, open communication and trust. Providing them with these three things will reward you with amazing work and cutting edge solutions.
Are you looking to build a team of creative professionals? Contact us today. We can help set up the right team for your business.