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7 Essentials for Leading Creative Teams

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 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 curse.

So as you walk into the office today, walk by our desk and wonder why we are lying 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 takes 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 them, might help you lead us.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Invest time, not just resources.

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!

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Stephen Brewster is the Creative Arts Pastor at @crosspoint_tv in Nashville, TN.