A good leader needs to harness the creativity of their team, by ensuring that the creative members have the freedom and motivation to do what they do best.
Creativity is the pivotal quality that marketing and content creation companies depend on; and one person can’t come up with all the ideas on their own. The role of a good leader is to harness the creativity of their team, by ensuring that the creative members have the freedom and motivation to do what they do best.
Harnessing your team’s creative skills
Creativity is an infinite resource, but not one that can simply be mined with a pickaxe. It is generated by people, and people need the right conditions in which to thrive. Here are some handy tips for encouraging innovative thinking:
According to Fahima Marissa Anwar, former director of influencing and marketing strategy at dubdub.com, and current member of the communication council at Forbes: “Understanding that not all creative ideas are going to be wins creates a comfortable environment to brainstorm ideas and walk through new concepts.” Mistakes are a necessary part of the creative process, and without the freedom to make mistakes, people will not be willing to take the risks required for innovative thinking.
Provide the motivation
This is the biggest challenge for any leader, especially when it comes to managing creatives. According to John A. Steinert, chief marketing officer at TechTarget, a powerful method for motivating creatives is to link the task at hand to something they are interested in. “From basketball to music to science, when the team starts with what they personally care about, they create whole new avenues for interesting content.”
It may not always be obvious how to do this, but finding different ways to think about problems is a key part of the creative process. In this case, you need to find an angle that inspires the team by requiring them to delve into their own personal interests.
Surround creatives with the right people
A team full of creatives will not get much done. In an article in Harvard Business Review, psychologists Reece Akhtar, PhD and Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic discuss the need to surround creatives with people who complement their abilities. These people will be good at things that creatives are traditionally not, such as implementation, networking, and detail-oriented project management.
As with any kind of team-building, the leader needs to accept that each individual within a team is better suited to certain tasks, and will perform better when assigned to those tasks. Expecting everyone to be able to do everything is not conducive to good teamwork.
Create the right environment
The importance of interior design should never be underestimated, as the layout of the space affects the mood and psychology of its occupants. Rows of claustrophobic cubicles, where employees crouch over their desks, are a relic of the past; a modern office should inspire employees by creating an open, brightly lit space where members of the team feel free to bounce ideas off each other. Jennifer Best, director of digital marketing at ArmadaHealth, suggests that the office be open and inviting, and include an innovation area designed specifically for team collaboration.
According to Robert B. Tucker, president of Innovation Resource Consulting Group, “brainstorming is a tool with staying power”. Many companies have pitched up at conferences claiming to have the next big innovation tool, but good old brainstorming remains the method of choice, even in the high-tech hub of Silicon Valley.
The key to a good brainstorming session is to free team members from the burden of analysis. It’s about quantity over quality; a quick barrage of ideas within a short space of time. Sort out the good ideas from the bad ideas later, the point of brainstorming is just to get the creative juices flowing. Few things pose more of a barrier to creativity than persistent analysis.
Creativity requires creative leadership
Answering the challenges of leadership requires creativity of a different kind, especially in a time when corporate environments that are designed to promote efficiency actually risk killing creativity in the process. The work of professional coaches involves encouraging people to break down barriers and unlock their inner potential. If you are interested in pursuing a career in coaching, SACAP offers a range of coaching courses, including part-time and full-time as well as online options. For more information, enquire now.