A manager’s main role is to ensure that everyone else in their team is capable of doing their job to the best of their ability. Whether that be giving them the tools and equipment they need or cultivating the work environment that will allow creatives to thrive.
Managing creative workers is a challenge because everyone’s working process is likely to differ slightly, especially if you’re dealing with people who have very different job roles, for example, copywriters, website developers, designers and influencers. Essentially, as a manager, you will have to ‘stage manage’ projects and work flows to harness productivity, efficiency and cohesiveness as well as creativity.
1. Understand their work & identify opportunities
The first step to being a quality leader of a creative department or team is to understand everyone’s role. It’s unlikely that you’re an expert in all creative fields so if you’re managing a multidisciplinary team, outline and establish roles, responsibilities, strengths, weaknesses and challenges as soon as possible.
This will allow you to identify specific talents and opportunities to strengthen the team as a whole. Moreover, it can help you to ‘plug gaps’ which often occur within creative teams by providing support and training with courses for creatives wherever it’s necessary.
2. Schedule time for inspiration & idea sharing
Within creative teams, and especially if you’re managing multiple projects or clients, there is a tendency for individuals to get caught up in ‘ideas’ or ‘work’. As a manager or leader, your role is to harness a healthy balance of both to ensure the team is delivering on deadlines but also pushing the business further, inventing and exploring opportunities within their own niches.
Leadership experts recommend scheduling time for idea sharing in which the whole team gets involved to discuss thoughts. Having everyone present within these sessions fosters collaboration within the business and is more likely to identify unfeasible ideas or pain points with a concept quicker, maximising time efficiency.
3. Establish your culture
88% of employees believe that workplace culture is critical to success. It also incentivizes and attracts the best new candidates and talent. However, only 19% of leadership believe that they have an appropriate and successful culture in place.
Culture is more than just the level of formality between employees and social nights. Establishing a workplace culture should create a framework to measure job satisfaction, both from business and individual perspectives. This is harder to manage with creatives as they often look for the freedom to run with their ideas within their roles.
4. Strike a balance for your team
As we’ve already mentioned, it’s critical to identify your team’s strengths and weaknesses in order to be a supportive, nurturing and effective leader. However, the next step of your job is to implement structures or ways of working that fuel the team, whilst keeping them organised and on-track, without compromising on their artistic or creative freedom.
This could be things like morning calls or meetings to check in with the team and make sure everyone has what they need to get on with their day. Alternatively, this could also be project brainstorming ideas or quarterly performance reviews to discuss areas for improvement and development.
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