Leading creative people is not easy. We are a messy, emotional, finicky bunch. The truth is the better we are at creating the harder we probably are to lead. We were made this way and it is why we you wanted to hire us in the first place. Because we are messy we are able to do things other people don’t think about, or see, or hear, or know how to say. It’s a gift and a course. So as you walk into the office today, walk buy our desk, and wonder why we are laying on the floor, with our shoes off, and music blasting when we have a deadline due remember that how we get that thing done that you love that we do take a drumming to a little bit different beat.
Since creative people are a little different I thought maybe it would be helpful to share a list of things that if you know might help you lead us.
- Understand when we walk away. Ideas are tricky. They don’t always connect or “click” at the beginning so sometimes we have to step away from them and engage a different project or exercise in order to get things right. When we force ideas they never meet anyone’s expectations.
- Protect us. It is important that we know we are safe. Help set the expectations and create the canvas but we will make you better stuff if we know that taking a chance and failing won’t cost us everything. We learn more in failing than we do in succeeding so if we fail properly and safely we will make amazing stuff.
- Trust instinct over data sometimes. We need to be able to occasionally create based on instinct. Trust us now and then and trust our imagination. We want to win as bad as you do and we also want to do things that inspire others as well as our self.
- Invest time not just resource. We want to know you care more than we want to know we are cool. Invest time in us. There is nothing like it and the ROI is off the charts!
- Be willing to push us. Once we have built trust we want to be pushed. Encourage us to start over, do better, and try harder. Don’t let us become stereotypical.
- Don’t freak out with step one of the process. Sometimes the best idea is not the first idea. It might take us some time and refining to get there but when we do everyone will be happy. Give it space. Push us to review it, think about it, see how it fits, but know we have a desire for it to be more awesome than you could imagine.
- Remember why you hired us. You didn’t hire us to “fit in”, “follow all the rules”, or “be like everyone else”. You hired us because you knew you needed something different so your organization could get better. When we don’t fit it is a good thing. When we start to fit in and you are not correct us from time to time that is when you should be most worried because in that moment we have probably lost our edge.
There are a ton of other things that can help us work together but I think this is a great jumping off point. What would you add to this list from your experience?