How To Manage A Creative Team (2022)
Last Updated on February 9th, 2022 by Lachie Hiriart
Leading a creative team is challenging because typical leadership advice won’t always work for you.
Indeed, it has the potential to turn your squad against you and kill a creative vision. If you impose a strict set of performance goals or reporting obligations, you’ll see their desire to create dwindle right before your eyes.
Distinctive leadership styles and rigid work processes will struggle to inspire or engage employees. Furthermore, they will suffocate creativity. Motivating your creative team to work collaboratively, take pride in working, and become involved, on the other hand, necessitates a different leadership attitude – one that conforms to the unique ways that creatives think and function.
Your job as a team leader is to motivate, inspire, and equip your creative team, not just manage them. Your ability to promote new ideas and encourage creativity relies heavily on your leadership skills.
A strong leadership style will provide your company with the competitive advantage it needs to succeed and thrive. Managing creative minds, on the other hand, can be difficult.
A rigorous leadership style with stringent rules and standards can stifle creativity and inhibit team members from excelling in their jobs, resulting in underperformance. However, you must develop a creative brief within your team and guarantee that tasks are completed quickly.
Even if you’re new to leading creative teams or have been doing so for a while, you must strike a balance between freedom, structure, imagination, and performance measures.
What are your options for accomplishing this? Here’s how to efficiently manage a creative team without limiting their ideas, hurting their originality, or resulting in mediocre outcomes.
Let’s start with the basics before moving on to leadership tactics for creative team leaders.
What is a creative team?
The fundamental purpose of a creative team is to turn a client’s concept, idea, or vision into a unique campaign that will encourage the corresponding audience to engage with the brand and buy its products or services.
Creative teams bring ideas to reality. The team could also be tasked with assisting businesses in developing and implementing solid and consistent branding across all marketing and advertising materials.
Now, with the use of creative briefs, you’ll be in charge of outlining your creative team’s tasks and duties, as well as establishing its structure if you want to develop and manage a successful creative team.
While creative thinkers excel in chaos, they nevertheless need to comprehend what you require of them.
A creative team often consists of the following professionals, though this relies mainly on the firm and industry:
- Account Managers
- Account executives
- Creative Directors
- Web Developers
- UX/UI Designers
- Graphics Designers
- Videographers and Photographers
These roles will change given the utilization case, yet they’re the most widely recognized you will see.
What makes managing creative people different?
You might consider your team creative if they work on innovative or design-oriented initiatives. People who work in creative professions have a deep enthusiasm for their work and identify with it. Their skill sets could be more than just a source of income for them; it could also be a source of personal joy.
Their work is inextricably linked to their sense of self, even worth for some creative people.
As a result, it’s crucial to take extra precautions while dealing with creative teams. When you manage a team of creatives, you’re empowering people to pursue their passions and assisting them in achieving not just objectives but creative dreams. Managing a creative person can be complex and personal, making it beneficial.
Creative team structure and roles
Depending on the type of organization, a creative team will take on a varied shape. For example, editors, developers, copywriters, graphic designers, and producers make up an advertising agency’s creative team, which a creative director leads.
Organizations who are fortunate enough to have an in-house creative team in many other industries, such as high-tech, frequently locate it within the advertising department.
Graphics designers, editors, Copywriters, UX/UI designers, and developers will all play roles in this system. In addition, people whose job it is to manage project timetables and resources and organize information from other departments may be included.
Three significant issues that creative teams encounter
To better grasp what it is to manage a creative team effectively, you must first understand the significant difficulties they face. Below is a list of hurdles creative teams encounter in order of importance;
- The expected speed at which creative teams must work
The creative process necessitates thinking outside the box. Slow but steady wins the race in the context of creativity. That is because inventing anything new is time-consuming and cannot be rushed, forced, or even accurately timed.
Despite this, many organizations use delivery times as a significant indicator to assess the productivity of creative employees. Put another way; their creative teams must promptly create high-quality work. Unfortunately, this frequently places creative employees under duress, disrupting their productivity and lowering work performance.
The important thing to remember is that corporations are aiming for 7-10x profits on their creative inputs, which means that timeframes are being pressed harder than ever in the field, owing to technological improvements. Therefore, today’s creative teams must work within rigorous guidelines.
Unless they work for a boutique enterprise that charges a lot of money, this is usually the case.
- Insufficient Resources
Surprisingly, creative teams have seen a decline in funding, even though most marketing channels requiring creatives are growing. They’re also needed to communicate with clients and create designs for numerous channels and stay current with evolving technologies.
That’s a major no-no when you’re buried in the weeds of inventing. So instead, an account manager should concentrate on serving as a link between the two.
- The request for creative work is high.
The level of work completed is another important productivity statistic. Unfortunately, the creative process is difficult to replicate within a short period because it is extremely unpredictable and should not be rushed.
In short, marketable creativity is difficult to mass-produce. In our fast-paced economy, only organizations who understand the most efficient technique to develop specific types of creativity will emerge victoriously.
7 Implementable Steps on how to Manage a Creative Team
Merely a couple of things can be bound to “creative chaos”; everything else must be controlled. As a result, we’ve outlined seven implementable steps you can employ as a leader to help your creative team function better;
- Encourage the creative team to develop their full potential
A leader should encourage and empower their creative team to perform at their best level. That isn’t to say you should throw them on a plinth and handle them as if they aren’t responsible or committed.
Development occurs when you set an example as a leader in a creative team. They’ll be more likely to follow if you demonstrate how you want them to go about things, how they can grow their skills, abilities, and knowledge, and commitment to doing it yourself.
Creatives, on the other hand, thrive on difficulties. Therefore, it would be best if you worked to achieve a collaborative and supportive atmosphere for your team and supply them with the most up-to-date technologies. That will motivate them to push themselves to new heights and succeed.
Also, don’t allow your pride to stand in the way of “doing the dirty work.” The ego of a leader breeds suspicion and disdain for authority.
- Don’t “manage” the team; instead, connect with it.
Start by knowing how creatives think and what difficulties they confront if you know how to manage a creative team efficiently. Unless you come from a creative environment, you may realize the hard way that most creative team members don’t work or share the same views you do.
It could lead to a divide, preventing coordination and effective communication. Here are a few things you can implement to develop your team’s connection;
- Offer opinions and pay attention to the responses.
- Identify their goals, achievements, strengths, and problems.
- Encourage them to participate regularly and show them that their viewpoint is valued.
- Organization of brainstorming sessions and collaborative projects.
- Inquire about their opinions.
- Show your admiration regularly.
- Encourage them to enjoy themselves at work.
All these are a few suggestions for improving your team’s collaboration. Try putting your touch on each of these; it’ll spark your team’s collaborative atmosphere.
- Promote collaboration in the creative process.
According to studies, there is a strong link between creativity and sociability. Highly creative individuals like to work alone.
They also don’t feel compelled to share their ideas or work with others. However, matching your team’s capabilities and facilitating ideation might help inspire creativity. Furthermore, it has the potential to foster teamwork.
If creative projects necessitate both a creative solution and a meticulous approach, for example, system and nuance project managers could be paired with photographers, graphic designers, or artists.
It helps you integrate each team member’s unique strengths and abilities to attain maximum project deliverables while staying on schedule.
- Keep in touch with your team daily.
Rigorous methods limit creative employees. On the other hand, processes can help creative thinkers comprehend what’s required of them. At the same time, they can focus all of their efforts on achieving a particular goal when they’re correctly created and articulated.
As a result, efficient daily communication with your creative team is essential. The team will be more productive when you’re more transparent and open.
The following are some of the essential things you could achieve throughout a project;
- Creating and debating on-demand videos
- Establishing precise guidelines while allowing for flexibility
- Following up on activities regularly and planning quick catch-ups
- Reminding everyone of deadlines and requirements regularly
- Supporting the team to report any problems right away.
- Assuring that they have access to all of the facilities and resources they require at all times
- Personal input, sharing ideas, and occasional brainstorming sessions are all encouraged.
Using frequent communication to show your support and dedication to the team can help to increase performance and develop trust. It will also increase the retention of employees and collaborators.
There is, however, a narrow line to be drawn between inspiring your employees and micromanaging the team. While it’s essential to monitor your team daily, keep in mind that innovation requires freedom and flexibility.
- Outsource distracting responsibilities to outsiders
A client asked you to update the thumbnail of a video, edit the intro of an eBook, and tweak the color scheme for their brand. Don’t worry about it, and be sure to assign these minor jobs to others.
It relieves your team members of unnecessary worry while enabling you to devote more time and direction to larger projects.
- Create a set of creative guidelines to follow
While the crew should have been given enough flexibility to generate unique, eye-catching, effective campaigns and content, you must check that their work fulfills the clients’ standards. Unfortunately, it’s easy to get enthused and distracted as a creative thinker without considering the core purpose, expectations, and criteria.
A creative’s strength isn’t always adhering to requirements and rules. Suppose the job isn’t up to par, whether due to poor quality or a failure to meet the deadline, you should give detailed feedback. You can also go over the requirement together and develop a strategy for fixing problems and improving the final output.
- Regularly provide feedback to the team.
It’s necessary to provide regular feedback and practical tips to your creative team to assist them in growing and enhancing project deliverables. Employees will feel valued, and their effort will matter if they receive regular feedback. In addition, it promotes teamwork, cooperation, and trust between the leader and the team.
It is believed that constructive feedback helps team members to work better. In addition, sharing regular feedback can allow you to foster a culture of meaningful acknowledgment and appreciation among your employees.
Managing creative teams effectively.
As a leader, your job is to ensure that the team works well together and explores their best ideas while defining clear guidelines, ensuring excellent deliveries, and giving a positive client experience.
That’s a massive responsibility, and it can be challenging to manage, especially if you’re also working with other people.
To attain comprehensive management experience and facilitate a smooth experience for both consumers and team members, you must first acquire the essential tools and skillset;
- Without emailing, efficiently assign responsibilities to your team.
- In line with every project, provide comments to your creative team members.
- Make it simple for clients (especially anxious clients) to track progress by providing clear statuses.
- Instead of assigning entire projects to external people, assign specific tasks.
It keeps everyone updated on deadlines and project status while enabling your clients to conveniently contact your creative team without having to dig through their contact list. In addition, track their performance in real-time, and observe your expertise actively from within a refined client portal expertise.
The tenets of cooperation, transparency, and engagement are important to the achievement of any team. On the other hand, creatives are distinct, requiring a particular type of leader.
Identifying how your team wants, how they think, and what they will enable you to give the system that will allow them to attain their full potential while also achieving team objectives.
As the creative team leader, don’t be hesitant to delegate responsibility to each team member. Allow your creative team to take the lead, and you’ll be surprised where they take you.
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