One of the keys to being a good leader is knowing your staff fully, and considering what needs to be done to get the best out of them, both individually and as a collective. When leading an inventive group of people towards developing a product, it is important to know how to manage creative teams.
What is a creative team?
The name may be straightforward, but the nature of creative teams vary depending on their goals and tasks. Its component members will differ noticeably between an advertising agency and a cosmetics company, since each area involves different skills. However, there are some common characteristics.
Creative teams use imaginative strategies to design something new that meets a demand. Furthermore, even the most ingenious team requires a degree of structure and organization in order to function effectively. In this article we’ll look at some tips for achieving this as a manager.
Set the role of each team member
To work properly, team members need to know their role in the scheme of things. Everyone has a specific task to fulfill – even during brainstorming sessions, which include everyone equally. When everyone is responsible for a set task, all the good ideas that come up will be sure to find a practical way into the process.
Remember that it is easy to go far and imagine beautiful things when you are envisioning a project, but making it real takes lots of work, and knowing exactly what needs to be done is essential.
A manager must know each employee’s strengths, and assign them roles where they can be most helpful, so the team can do its duty and turn creativity into reality. Why not create a decision tree online to help you divide up tasks between the team?
Establish a collaborative workspace
Some people are naturally more creative than others, but contrary to popular belief, creativity can be nurtured, practiced and cultivated. And the best way to do that is by taking part in activities such as brainstorming meetings, sharing ideas and perspectives with others.
That’s why managers of creative teams should establish a collaborative environment, in which workers can share their points of view and help each come up with new solutions to their problems.
As the famous saying goes: “two heads are better than one.” It may sound cliché, but it’s true, and putting colleagues to work as a collective is always a good call when doing creative work.
Put your team in contact with other areas of the company
Sometimes teams need to get out of their bubble. Putting your employees in touch with other parts of the company is always valid. A better understanding of the procedure as a whole, even after your job is done, can lead to a better understanding of shared goals, and incredible insights that can lead to better products and operations.
Try new things out
Routine can diminish creativity. As a manager, you should thrive on testing new approaches, methodologies, organizations and routines. Switching things up can keep your team motivated, curious, and open to new thoughts and directions, which invariably leads to fresh, clever concepts.
Know your teammates
Employees have different motivations, personalities and professional attributes. Keep that in mind when managing your team. Considering the uniqueness of each one can help you to get the best out of them.
This approach goes hand in hand with flexibility. For example, if you know that a colleague works better using a different method to yours, embrace this disparity and leave them free to work in their own way, as long as it leads to better results.
If the nature of the job permits, this may mean letting them choose the working hours that best suit them, or work from home. Keep an open mind and encourage team members to do it their way, if this is reflected in the quality of their work.
Always give feedback
It’s unpleasant, but necessary, to highlight when a colleague does something wrong. Try to do so without judgment, explaining that your goal is to improve results and contribute to the colleague’s professional growth.
Most importantly, make sure to give positive feedback when appropriate, since this is often overlooked. Doing so helps to keep workers motivated and creates a cheerful environment, which is very beneficial for creative work.
Remember that you are the manager
As we have seen, creative work can benefit from keeping an open mind, trying out new things, granting freedom to your employees, and using out-of-the-box strategies to encourage innovation and keep employees happy and motivated.
But even though the work is not as bureaucratic and encased as other jobs, managers of creative teams still need to deliver the expected results.
As a manager, you need to analyze the impacts of your various strategies and evaluate which ones produce the best results, constantly adapting and innovating. Lead by example, and show how creative you can be.