Pure Octane managers will be the first to tell you that managing creative types comes with a unique set of challenges. It’s not so much that we’re a difficult group to work with (most of the time), but rather that traditional thinking and literature on management relies on outdated hierarchical structures that encouraged obedience instead of innovation. If you are also in the position of leading a creative team, here are some simple – but not easy – strategies that have worked for our Pure Octane team.
First, know the associates with whom you’re working. This means more than just knowing their names, but their strengths and weaknesses as well. This way you can match people to the projects on which they will add the most value. Also, recognize the conditions under which your team members produce their best work. Do they like lots of feedback? Are they inspired by healthy competition? Respect the individuality of your colleagues by acknowledging their unique traits, and work with them.
Then, rather than setting strict operating guidelines, spell out expectations. Let your team be resourceful and generate their own processes. If you must get involved in their methodologies, tread lightly – start small with something like a calendar that highlights when different milestones in a project should be completed, for example.
One final piece of advice we at Pure Octane offer is to create a workplace environment that helps you retain your creative talent. Innovators are naturally restless, but they don’t have to be job hoppers. Follow these suggestions and you’ll be getting the most from your creative team in no time.