Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How To Manage Creatives In A Negative Office Environment

Managing creatives requires a lot of patience, sensitivity, and a special knack to understand their quirks. Creatives can sometimes seem like they’re manic depressive, and at times you just want to go and shake them. Some managers are perplexed by the “prima donnas,” as someone told me recently. The first thing you should do is to mend the negative office environment into a positive one but if you can’t, here are some tips on how to get your creative team to over come the environmental challenges.
  1. Tell them the big picture - creatives love to dream. If you’ve told them already, tell them again include your vision for the next quarter and next year. Tell them how far you’ve come as a team. Positive feedback gets creatives going.
  2. Remind them about their goals - why are they doing what they’re doing, and how this fits into the big picture. Tell them that their contributions are key to moving everyone to the next level.
  3. Tell them how amazing they are and mean it, too.Everyone wants to be a rock star. But don’t do this if you’re not going to be sincere about it. It’ll just back fire on you.
  4. Don’t compliment them and give them new work in the same breathe -- they’ll just think you compliment them to give more work. Let them tell you what needs to be done -- after all you hired them for their creativity, so pick their brains properly.
  5. Allow them to work from home or some other environment. Creativity is a hard thing to find if the conditions are not right -- especially in a negative environment. They need to do the quirky things that they do -- let them. I used to allow naps to my writers after lunch. They produced a higher quality work afterwords, it took less editing time and work and the editorial team was able to serve all the content needs of the company.
  6. Address all their concerns right away including any negative sentiments regarding the brand, service, or interpersonal issues. If you take care of it, it won’t fester and rot -- it is always better to get them home happy. They’ll also respect you for it.
  7. You must figure out the causes of negativity and eliminate or contain it if you’re a manager, get HR involved, or your boss -- nothing sucks the air out of an office faster than negativity. Creatives are horrible in such environments -- anyone would be but creatives will stop producing and performing. If you can get work out of them, it will be crap work.

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