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How to manage creative teams: Top 10 main principles

According to the consulting firm Bersin and Associates, companies that know how to attract and manage talented people earn 26% more profit than their competitors. Any intelligent business and technology company depends on creative people, on their special skills, knowledge and ideas. Of course, managing a team of creative individuals requires a specific approach of the manager, which consists of different nuances and rules. But if you choose the "key" to this format of the team, you can be sure that the business profit will increase significantly.

In life and business, the Pareto's law works. Its essence is quite simple and consists in the fact that 20% of efforts give 80% of the result, while the remaining 80% of efforts are able to provide the employee with only 20% of success. So, another version of this law applies to creative employees — 60: 30: 10, where 10% is occupied by creatives that move the business forward.

These 10% need as much as 90% of the time and effort. This type of work involves the investment of huge emotional resources. And from such subordinates the largest percentage of efforts comes. They are able to create the face and name of the brand, make it unique, memorable and recognizable. They also generate fresh ideas. By implementing them, the company can quickly overtake its competitors. And if the bosses understand this, and the management of creative teams in the company is developed at a high level, then success and profits increasing are guaranteed.

Methods of creative teams managing

The difficulty in working with a creative team is that the ideas of its members are only partly the property of the company, and mostly belong to their creators or to one creator, if he personally came up with it. The biggest risks that managers of creative teams have to face are not only how to retain an employee, but also how to arouse their respect and trust.

Effective methods of managing a creative team include:

  1. Exclusion of total control. There is no great need to constantly monitor the creative employee, because in this work format, it is unlikely that you will be able to cheat. The specialist himself wants to perform the task efficiently, in order to satisfy, first of all, not the manager, but himself. The reference point in the work of creatives is their personal opinions and attitude to their own work. Control only gets impressionable employees strayed.
  2. Development together with the group. Creative subordinates usually do not stand on the same skill level, as they very quickly outgrow the opportunities that the company can offer them, progress and are willing to go further to expand their knowledge and skills. If you want the management of a team, to be not only effective, but also long-lasting, then develop together with it to keep up.
  3. The correct roles assigning in the team. As a rule, creative people don't like to obey. And especially to listen to the advice of those, with who don't rub elbows. To control a team of creatives, you need to give them an instructor of the same specialty, but a highest level. Thus, the management of the team's work follow the scheme "general director-art director".
  4. Search for an individual approach. How many creative people work in the company, so many approaches should exist. There is no set of rules that apply to the management and control of the entire team. Each specialist should have their own unique approach.
  5. Creating special working conditions. Effective management of a team consisting of employees gifted with unique talents is also a kind of "indulgence", that are permissions and exceptions that allow you to reveal the genius of each creative. If an employee can't come up with a good idea because he didn't get enough sleep, then you should allow him to come to work an hour later or sleep an hour and a half during the working day in the recreation area.

Creative teams can be found in advertising agencies, web design, teams that create films, music, fiction and many other areas. Creative individuals are involved in a wide variety of fields of activity. They are the creators of all the most interesting, innovative things that become a trend.

10 main principles of creating and managing a creative team

To ensure the productive work in the creative team and that employees don't want to leave everything in the middle of the project, the manager should study the principles of team management and measures to encourage employees with a receptive mind. For example, if you know what motivates a creative employee best, you can significantly increase their self-confidence and improve their performance. The best motivators for a creative team are the following, in descending order:

  • Praise.
  • Prize.
  • Self-realization.
  • Transition to informal relationships.
  • Team Building.
  • Flexible working schedule.

It's not surprising that praise comes first, because it's so important for a creative person to hear positive feedback about their work.

Managing a project team is a balance between control and complete freedom. And the boss really needs to find him. 10 real principles will help you do this, including:

1. Time for reflection. It is important to understand that physical labor is strikingly different from mental labor. And not even any thought process can be called creative. Generating creative ideas is something that a person cannot be forced to do. If an accountant can make reports before a specific date, then it is impossible to come up with a symphony or write a poem in a short time. Or you can, but it will be "out of the box", i.e. not the highest quality creation. This does not mean that the team constantly needs to be given additional days off or vacation every month. You just need to properly allocate time for work and reflection in a calm environment.
2. Exclusion of formal duties. If your tasks include managing the development of teams, i.e. the progress of the creative group, then in such cases you do not need to load them with trivial tasks. Leave it to the photographer to work with the documents or to the poet to draw up a contract, and they will drag it out until the last moment. At the same time, the employee will have a split, because you need to do a job that does not have a soul. This will affect the effectiveness of the implementation of its key project.
3. The algorithm of actions. The company employs several different groups of employees, one of which is creative. We already know that it needs a special approach. But the manager wants to get the highest possible results, which would correspond to his requests on the deadline and on the decision principle. In this case, you can not do without a standard scheme of actions. It should be expected that at first, the management of people and the team according to the regime will be perceived by free natures with hostility. But over time, they will get used to it and will perceive it as a daily routine. An important rule: if the algorithm of actions does not take root and reduces the effectiveness of the creative team, then it should be canceled.
4. Discipline. This condition is mandatory, no matter how freedom-loving the geniuses in your company are. Working in an organization, you should adhere to certain rules. Of course, inventive people always want to go beyond what is allowed, so they will stick to them only if they create favorable conditions for this.

5. Order. His creative personalities can not stand it. But in the company, when working in a team without order, chaos will begin. To organize the labor process, you need order. This applies only to the performance of official duties. But in the workplace, staff can be allowed to maintain a creative mess, if they think better in such conditions.
6. Choose the team management styles. It is already clear that employees with a free soul cannot be kept in authoritarian shackles. If the manager decides everything for them — there will be no business. No matter how far the democratic regime in the company goes, where the boss distributes rights between himself and the team, but he still reserves the final decisions. But in a liberal government, creative natures live easily and freely. In any case, the decision is always left to the manager.
7. Team management. Try to implement a modern management tool in your workflow. Team management involves the joint participation of the team and the manager in the project, in which they are on an equal footing. At the same time, the boss manages to equally use the talents of each participant individually and the group as a whole.
8. Incentive program. We have already mentioned that the main motivations for a creative person are praise and a prize. Both the first and the second are proof of a high assessment of the employee's efforts and the work done by him. It's also a good idea to encourage fresh thoughts from employees. So, Thomas Ford paid $ 1 to his workers for every new idea, no matter how crazy it was. He gave money even when he knew for sure that he would not use this idea in the future. But there were much more offers.
9. Proper team time management. In order to somehow understand what free and flying employees do in their dreams during the day, you can implement time trackers to track time. We cancel total control, and we replace it with such a "soft" method that will be beneficial for both sides. Let's assume that a creative employee works at a computer remotely. This can be, for example, a graphic designer or a writer. To somehow monitor its operation, you can use a simple time tracker Checkiant. The boss will be able to see the number of hours spent on solving professional tasks, and the employee will immediately see how much money he earned.

10. Inspiration. Many managers are faced with disruptions of the terms of work of creative workers. It just so happens that they can't create by the hour. If you need to get a creative product by a specific time, then specify the time frame, while motivating and inspiring it. For example, if he does everything efficiently and quickly, he will get a few extra days off or a bonus.

Motivation, well-chosen team management styles, time allocation, the integration of time trackers, the correct dosage of time for work and reflection, the algorithm of actions and moderate discipline-all this will help you organize the effective work of a creative team.

Mistakes in managing creative people

Managing creative groups is very difficult process. All individuals who have any talent are people with their own special vision of the workflow, and they need to be understood. This is the only way to properly manage a team that includes inventors, designers, artists, etc.

In addition to the recommendations, it's also important to study the set of rules "how not to do". Lets consider three the most common mistakes of creative team managers:

  1. Complex hierarchy. It's important that the project evaluation takes place not within the team, but on behalf of the general manager. As for the group itself, the linear command structure is the most correct solution. If there are, for example, major and minor designers in it, a real war will begin. So the work must be checked by the one person who stands above the entire team.
  2. Too many creative people. It's extremely difficult for many creative people who work in the same direction to get along in one project.
  3. There are no specific criteria for evaluating the results of the work. The team must understand what exactly the product should be. If something was wrong, it's important to specify what needed to be corrected. You need a clear understanding of what is wanted from a person.

If the creative employees will be interested and feel themselves emotionally comfortable working in your company – they won't go anywhere. The main thing is to constantly encourage, support and where necessary — to control and adjust.

See also:

Sketchnoting for time management. Draw your working day

Team time-tracking: what kind of beast

Music for making the brain work

Deadline – friend or foe