Marnie is one of the team leaders of an advertising firm. She recently shifted departments to handle a group of young new creatives. The team’s main tasks have to do with storyboarding and ideation.
One day, Freddie, one of the older members of the team comes up to her with a concern. He feels as if the team of twenty-year-old creatives aren’t working too well with the rest of the firm.
For one thing, Freddie says the team feels intimidated by the strict deadlines set by their boss. Another is that they aren’t confident they can deliver their best in such short amounts of time. They say that you can’t force creativity. They already seem to be afraid that they won’t mesh well with the corporate side of the workplace.

While these things might be true, Marnie knows she still has to do something about the situation. There has to be a way to better manage this team of fresh creative talent. She believes they’ll be valuable to their company.
Creatives need the freedom to do their thing while working within deadlines. It’s Marnie’s first time to deal with a team like this so she doesn’t know what to do.
How can you, an HR professional, help Marnie manage her creative team so that they can thrive in a corporate setting?

Why Are Creatives So Hard To Work With?

Creative employees suffer from certain problems in the workplace. They can:

  • Get a lot of negative criticism from co-workers
  • Behave in a way that other people find strange
  • Be prone to overthinking
  • Break the rules often
  • Be afraid to get out of their comfort zone to deliver great work

Some studies also show that creatives are less likely to turn into company leaders. Colleagues think they have less leadership potential than other employees in a company.
You might also worry about their response to corporate culture. Studies have shown that creatives can reject hierarchies and systems. Creatives believe these hinder their productivity and creative prowess at the office. Not to mention, creatives don’t like having backseat drivers when they work. How can you deal with people who won’t follow a system?
For innovative minds to flourish in a company, you have to allow them to deliver on terms that you both agree on. For you to strike a balance, this process can be difficult and exhausting. With all the challenges surrounding creatives, you’ve already got a full-time job just managing them.

Best Practices For Handling A Creative Team

1. Get to know each person on the team

Individuals make up a team. You’ll want to get to know just who these people are behind the job. Creatives enjoy individuality, and it would be best to remember that.
Make them feel that they are important to you. Organize activities and other get-togethers for creative teams. Keep in mind that creatives don’t enjoy the same types of activities other people like. Ask them what they do for fun and join them.
This will give you the avenue to get to know the faces behind the work, fostering teamwork at the same time.

2. Value their input on projects

All workers appreciate when employers value them – creatives are no exemption. Appreciation is especially important with jobs that need more imaginative and artistic talent. When creative people give input, that means they’re sharing something that matters to them.
Next time you have a project that needs the work of creative types, be sure to give them the chance to give advice. You may not be able to use all the suggestions given, yes. But giving them a chance to take part tells them that you value their contributions.
If the creative team delivers great output, don’t hesitate to commend them for it. Give credit where credit is due, and don’t skimp out on thank-yous. Acts of appreciation encourage your creative employees to keep growing in their work. This leads to them delivering their best.

3. Encourage breaks and rest between work

The last thing you’ll want for your creatives team is to experience burn-out.
Have an open environment that encourages people to rest. Many companies are beginning to shift out of the conventional cubicle-type offices. Several now put up spaces for employees to meet, play games, and recharge.
More than breaks during the work day, encourage employees to make the most of their leaves in a year. You can also sponsor company trips and conferences out of town.
Keep surprising your employees so that work doesn’t become too much of a chore for them. No company wants a team full of exhausted creatives.

4. Work with them, not against them

When you give your creatives a project, it might be tempting to impose your entire vision on their work. Most creative types don’t like when they’re told how to do things. By now, they already have their own ways of getting a job done.
Be sure to play with that strength by giving them room to do their thing their way. You can always suggest a process, but it’s best to never impose. Just let your creatives know what it is you want them to do then leave them to figure out how to do it.

A tight hold on the processes of creatives can discourage them from performing well.

5. Keep them busy

Creatives may need to have several – but just enough – projects that challenge them. Having several projects allows them to exercise their craft in a different way. It’s not easy focusing all your efforts on one thing all the time. Variety at work is important.
You also have to make sure your creative people are always making. Giving them room to keep doing what they do motivates them. Just like how people want to grow through their work, you have to allow creatives to thrive by working on stuff that excites them.
Encourage the heads of the company to give them big creative projects instead of outsourcing. To them, it’s a huge sign of trust when you give them projects that play a big part in the company’s success.


6. Encourage them to be open-minded

One of the hardest things about managing creative types is having to say no or to reject their work. Because of this, you’ll have to encourage them to be open-minded. After all, you’re all in one company with one common goal. This might mean giving constructive feedback and making big changes.
Make a conscious effort to remind your creatives that they can’t fall in love with their output. Open-mindedness is a good trait to foster within the company, especially with creative teams.

Working Well With Creatives

Creatives may have specific needs, but it doesn’t mean they’re impossible to work with. At the end of the day, you need each other to grow your company.
Your key takeaway from this article? Maximize the strengths of your creative team.

Once you do that, you’ll find better working relationships with one another. People like to play at their strengths, so give creatives the chance to do the same.
Look at what happened when you advised Marnie with these best tips. Her team functions better now and is less afraid of the business side of your company. They’re now performing better together and meshing well with other groups and departments.


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