In reviewing the FLAVORS necessary for full creative teams another necessary flavor is the Antagonist. Most people immediately think that the role of the Antagonist is negative, but thats so far from true. Every team needs a creative Antagonist to keep them balanced, centered, and not intoxicated with their own ideas.
Because Antagonists punch holes. Antagonists ask questions, and often times uncomfortable questions. They want things to be right and are not usually blinded by the romantics that surround ideas. Antagonists are willing to fight for what’s right and often are misunderstood for being stuck in their ways or just plain ‘negative’ or
‘stubborn’. The trick to antagonists is positioning them in a place where they can use their gifts without hurting the moral or energy of the team; often times giving them permission and coaching them on the right time to use their gifts. Healthy antagonists also posses the ability to get onboard with ideas once the ideas are processed and execution begins.
Have you identified an Antagonist on your team?
We talked recently about the need for every creative team, volunteer or staff, to have certain FLAVORS represented in order to be healthy and working at optimum impact. We talked about the FLAVORS of the Conceptualist, the Architect, and the Pioneer. Today I wanted to share about the Enhancer.
An Enhancer simply makes ideas better. They have the amazing ability to listen to an idea and identify adjustments that will make the idea more effective, creative, sticky, and all around just better. They help creativity be its absolute best while pushing their teams ideas forward. They are amazing at refining ideas and move the ideas from solid to extraordinary.
It is really important to have an Enhancer on a team because they see the 30,000 foot view of an idea and don’t get caught up in the details that often times kill ideas.
Does your team have an Enhancer represented?
I was asked the other day what is the biggest lesson that I am learning right now?
The answer is simple. Everything I do is Leadership.
What do I mean?
Everything you say as a leader carries weight. Measure your words and your opinions. You set the tone.
Every decision you make impacts other people. It is not just about you and your art anymore. It is about all the people who rely on what you do to succeed at what they do.
You set the tone. Facial expressions, attitude, non-verbal language…it all speaks and sets the temperature around you. What you don’t say often speaks louder than what you say.
Who you talk to about anything matters. It matters because you lead and your leadership matters.
Actions create culture. Like it or not it is true. So act the way you want others to act.
If you don’t prepare no one else will. You set the expectation. This is true of art, work, prayer, and attitude. Leaders go first.
What you allow you permission.
It requires hard conversations that won’t always be popular but move momentum! 30 sucky minutes are better than 2 awkward weeks. Deal with stuff before it becomes bigger than it has to be.
How you respond tells everyone everything. Do you respond the way you would want others to respond or do you react based on your emotions?
Leadership is not easy. For creative people who deal with insecurity, the desire to be liked, who’s emotions help drive the art they create, who need permission to sometimes be eccentric so they can be who they were created to be it is really hard. But way more than that, it is a gift and an honor. We GET TO lead and make these decisions. The problems we have today someone else is praying they get to have tomorrow. Lean in. This is our time. We were made for this. Lets go!
I have been thinking a lot lately about the fact that how I approach my work can actually be more important the work that I am doing. I need to be focused as a leader on how I approach my work and the people I work with.
There are some traits that I am noticing are vital in the approach that creative leaders I admire. Here is a list I have made:
- Not Satisfied With Cut & Paste Solutions
- Filled With Grace
- Willing To Challenge the Status Quo
- Audaciously Curious
- Am I Praying As Much As I Am Trying To Strategize?
- Relentless With Question Asking
- They Understand Vision, Connection, and Innovation
- Strive For Great not Good
- Embrace Change
- Take Risks
- Never Stop Learning
- Trust Intuition
- Respect Data
- Respect Others
- Respect Push Back
- Understand the importance of collaboration
- Willing To Be Wrong But Not Willing To Give Up
- Desire To Make Others Not Just Things Better
- Never Satisfied. Ever.
- Approach Life With Hustle
- Always Wondering What Could Be Next
I want to be able to read this list and say “YES! Thats Me.” To often I would have to be honest and say there is a lot of room for me to improve in all of these areas. But that is why we are here…we are on a journey…What would you add to this list? What do you think is important in the approach of a creative leader?
Leadership is intangible, and therefore no weapon ever designed can replace it. – Omar N. Bradley
There are a few traits that creative leaders have to remember. Sometimes we just need a little check up to remind us the influence that our leadership carries and the importance of our actions. What would you add to this list (with the obvious Christian focus removed because that is a given)?
1. Leaders set the tone and set it with passion and audacity.
2. Avoid drama and create peace.
3. Think positive, but realistic.
4. Lead by serving.
5. Act as much as they talk.
6. Ensure that their words and actions align; own and correct it when they don’t.
8. Know they don’t have all the answers all the time.
9. Ask questions more than you make statements.
10. Trust their team to do their jobs.
11. Set and articulate expectations.
12. Insist on results.
13. Delegate. Then, delegate more.
14. Give others credit.
15. Listen. Listen. Listen. Then respond.
16. Have compassion, but don’t be fooled.
17. Respond instead of react.
18. Hire talented, young, future leaders and trust them even when they fail…and never stop investing in them.
19. Know their idea is not always the best idea.
20. Never stop learning.
What are traits you look for in a leader? What traits are you attempting to model?
Every person who is part of your creative process should bring some FLAVOR to your team.
We have talked about the importance of every full creative team having a Conceptualist as well as a Pioneer. It is also important to make sure there is someone on your team that can fill the role of the Architect.
Architects make ideas happen. They are idea builders. Architects are the craftsmen/women of the creative world. They understand the ideas that are developed and know how to move them from concept to execution. Architects build great teams and identify the necessities of making ideas come to life. They identify talent, connect the right people, and know the timeline for making things happen. Part of their creative ability is the ability that architects have to see the end product and know how to work to bring that product to life. Architects can tend to be inventors or producers by nature and really know how to navigate other creative personalities.
Do you have anyone on your team or in your process that is an architect?
Healthy, well-rounded creative teams are made up of different personalities – not just different responsibilities. This misconception is so common that when we’re working to fill out a team, we focus on “jobs” more than we do the flavors of the people who make up those teams.
As we discussed, conceptualists are idea generators. But another key flavor required for a full team is a pioneer.
Pioneers are first. They’re the early adopters. They are the girls or guys on your team who always see that cool YouTube video, trend, sound, or vibe before everyone else.
It’s so important that a creative team identifies a pioneer because pioneers refuse to be comfortable. They’re always looking to identify what the next, next, next thing could or should be. They even get bored repeating successful things and are always working to push the envelope and continue creating new stuff.
Pioneers collect, share, and broadcast their findings for others and often find identity in knowing what’s new. They get bored with “popular” and thrive on finding and identifying something new.
Does your team have a pioneer?