Isn’t it great to lead a group of creative people? You encounter unique ideas, whose combination always results in something great. However, a group of creatives is also difficult to manage. When those ideas are conflicting and you have strong individuals competing against each other within the team – you have a great recipe for a disaster.
How exactly do you make a creative team successful? How do you build such a team in the first place? Here are 7 ideas we came up with:
That is the ultimate key to a successful collaboration. When you’re looking for the right people who would bring a project to realization, the first criterion that comes to your mind is: skills. Of course that’s important. Writing skills, for example, are crucial for successful presentation and marketing. You value the intellect and experience of each candidate before welcoming them in the team.
Are you forgetting something? Expertise, experience, and technical skills are easy to recognize. However, when you’re bringing people together in a single team, the way they fit in it is also important. When you’re thinking whether or not to accept someone in a creative team, ask yourself this question: in addition to executing the tasks related to the jobs, will they fit in the workplace culture?
You can make a test: invite the candidates to lunch. Then, have a brainstorming session. Observe their attitude. How do they collaborate with each other? Do you see someone standing in the corner, not communicating with the rest of the group? You want to pick people who will support and challenge each other.
2. The Right Size
When you notice that the creative team is struggling to complete the tasks on time, you need to throw in another member. Your decision to staff up shouldn’t affect the level of collaboration and support within the team. That’s why you have to think about key number 1: picking the right people that fit in.
Daniel Phillips, manager of a creative writing team at AU Essays On Time, explains how important size is: “When I’m picking the right people to work on a project, I always think how many I need. The standard scheme calls for a writer, researcher, and editor. However, some projects are too complex, so I throw in an extra researcher or assistant writer, as needed. The leader has a responsibility to estimate the workload and distribute it accordingly.”
Goals give you focus. When you’re managing a team of creative people, things can easily go wrong. Ideas have their own way of taking the wrong turn. Your team starts brainstorming on a marketing campaign for a non-governmental organization, and somehow the thinking process leads to superheroes and cats.
You need to make your expectations clear. Even though you want everyone to be as creative as possible, you have to set tangible targets that will keep them in balance.
4. The Right Approach
Authoritarian leadership style may work in some situations. When you’re trying to manage a creative team, it doesn’t. As a leader, you do need authority. You have to be decisive. However, you should also have the right dose of humility and approachability in your style.
A strong leader knows how to maintain open communication between the management and team members. You should be aware of the problems your team faces, and you should do everything in your power to help them overcome the challenges.
Ideas need time to evolve. They start as small seeds; thoughts that have no visible purpose. When you’re patient enough to give them a chance and check where they lead, you’ll discover the greatness of the creative process.
As a leader, you can’t expect your team members to switch on creativity mode whenever you need solutions. Give them space and be patient!
All great leaders share a common trait: being highly trusted. When you lead creative people, it means you want them to take risks. You need them to get out of the box and present fresh ideas to you. They will do that only if they trust you’ll be objective with the feedback and you’ll give all ideas a chance.
You should inspire not only creativity and innovation, but loyalty and morale, too.
If you don’t organize the process of collaboration through all its stages, some very good ideas might get lost along the way. Ask all members of the team to note down the ideas and collect them in a special folder.
Then, organize the activities! Creativity is lost without structure. You still have deadlines to meet, so you need to keep them on schedule.
Before you can make a creative team successful, you need to hire the right people. Once you do that, you should just give them some structure and let them do their job. Be patient and supportive. Be someone they can rely on. When they trust you enough, they will start throwing their best ideas at you.
Eva Wislow is a career advisor from Pittsburgh. She loves to help people challenge themselves and achieve their most ambitious career goals. Eva finds her inspiration in writing. Follow her on Twitter.
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