Managing creative teams can be challenging. Working with right-brained (creative people) versus left-brained (analytical) has its own set of rules. To make things easier for you, here are some tips to manage creative teams effectively.
Involve Everyone in the Creative Process
To enhance the creative output and the process, managers should make efforts to involve everyone in the feedback process. Every member of the creative team needs to give and receive feedback on the creative work. In simple words, every member of the team should find problems and suggest solutions.
This is important as creative people often get lost in their projects. The creative person gets so involved in the details that they obscure the final output. In such cases, it is impossible to take the project in the right direction. Hence, it is the responsibility of every member of the team to find problems and give timely feedback during the process.
The manager should ensure the feedback is not prescriptive. A good feedback will tell what is wrong, what is missing, what isn’t clear. The feedback should be timely as well.
Encourage Experimental Mindset
The creative process can be draining both physically and mentally, but you need to maintain the right mindset for it. While managing creative teams, you should look towards experimentation as a necessary element and productive and not as wastage of time. Don’t forget experiments are fact-finding missions and any outcome from experiments yields new information.
Managers need to encourage experimental mindset and let the team learn through iterations and move forward even when the final result is out of sight. Managers need to allow their team to make mistakes.
Protect New Ideas
The word “uncertainty” haunts the corporate world and many organizations are averse to new thinking, ideas due to the risk involved. To sustain innovation, you need to protect new ideas and not get judgmental at the initial stages of anything new.
Encourage Differences Throughout the Creative Process
Though inventing something new is the pinnacle of creativity, it need not be always. You can excavate something new from existing ideas and work them to build them independently. Working on analogies of existing ideas has its own advantages; you are likely to fewer struggles in the middle stage when nothing seems to be working. All you need is clarity about the internal model of the existing idea and confidence in your creativity that it will work a different way.
Trust Your Team
Only great managers share the trait of being highly trusted by their teams. Trust inspires innovation, loyalty and good morale while mistrust causes frustration, loss of productivity and attrition. As a manager, you need to trust the creative intellect of your team. They were selected for the role only because of the creative spark they have in them.
Don’t Be Bossy
People don’t like to be told what to do and how to do it, and that is double for creative teams. One of the secrets of managing creative teams is you need act as a coach and help your creative team improve performance.
Creative professionals like challenges so you need to guide them to solve the creative challenges with determination rather than giving the order to follow. Never force your creative team to follow processes or structures. If you impose processes and structures, you are killing creativity. Creativity is spontaneous and creative professionals perform well under unpredictable circumstances.
The manager should allow creative professionals to work outside their normal hours and remotely to ensure the creative spark in them never dims.
Every creative team is different as it made of diverse members, you need to understand each creative professional and help them see the bigger picture of collaboration.
Do you know any other effective methods of managing creative professionals?
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