An imposing approach can frustrate the talent of your team, know when to step back
By DERRICK VIKIRU
Barely a month into his new role as a manager in an advertising agency, Ethan is feeling frustrated and at the verge of resigning. His woes are as a result of his seemingly unruly team which is dominated by creative individuals. Meetings are especially notoriously digressive and hardly conclusive as the team is inherently unconventional. This complaint has become his pet peeve and even worse his supervisor is sensing his loss of control over the team.
Almost all workplaces have a creative department. The primary motivators of these teams are beyond technical skill and highly depend on inspiration which makes it difficult to confine them to the usual management rules. As a result, pushing creatives too hard to behave a certain way can kill the soul of instinctual inspiration which is the source of their unique and creative ideas. “When the job is to conjure the next brilliant idea out of thin air, against deadline, via a combination of inspiration, hard work, experience, intuition, and confidence, getting the best work out of creative people on a consistent and efficient basis can be tricky business,” say veteran creative directors Evan Fry and Dave Swartz in an article titled Tips for managing creative people. They give these tips to manage creative teams to get the most out of them.
Create healthy confusion
Studies have shown that creative people need distractors to be productive. It helps if these distractors come in the form of other things they enjoy doing, which could be other creative assignments as they can switch to a different stimulant and swim in unending inspirational ideas to continue the pending task while at it. “When working with this lot, it’s actually more productive to keep them busy with multiple projects at once,” say Fry and Swatz.
Suggest but don’t impose
Eysenck in his psychological theory argues that for creatives, there are indefinite perspectives to things and this predisposes them to downplay conventions and single line rules and instead, they curve out new paths and styles of action to different situations. They may not dwell on planning and processes but their most important trigger is a thrilling idea that can spring up in mind at any time, for them, the birth of that idea is their soul of life; it’s all they need to start working, not necessarily a plan. As such, Fry says that coercing this group of people to pursue a certain idea is killing their talent. “Suggesting process to a creative team therefore must be done delicately,” says Fry.
Keep them producing
When there is nothing to create, creatives are prone to planning to relocate, as they feel creatively uninspired and unhappy, so the more opportunities to put new ideas into the world there are the happier and more fulfilled they feel.
Identify and leverage traits of individuals
Having an up-to-date understanding of each person’s talents enables you to optimise those strengths by assembling the right skills and talents for projects.
Derrick Vikiru is the Sub-Editor Management Magazine. Email: email@example.com