“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…”
The old adage can be true, especially for creative teams. Striking a balance between creativity and a business environment can be a challenge while designing and managing a team of creative professionals.
I visited a client recently, and was impressed by their team dynamics – working hard, but having some fun while doing it. You could sense the energy and camaraderie within the group. They worked well together as a team, but each individual played a key role with clearly defined responsibilities. In addition, the physical workspace had great casual and comfortable spaces to collaborate, and small perks including catered Friday morning breakfasts, lunchtime foosball games, and other fun props, gave team members opportunities to blow off some steam, bond with each other and actually develop some fresh creative ideas in the process. Seemed like a perfect balance of work and play, and a great recipe for a creative team design.
But designing an effective creative team while planning long-term management and growth strategies for a manager is not an easy feat. Those who “get it” are successful in hiring and retaining the best individuals to work cohesively as a team while balancing their left- and right-brain skills and work habits.
And it all starts with you…
Take a close look at yourself – to honestly assess your management strengths, weaknesses and overall style. You can’t design and manage an effective team without understanding yourself first.
The Environment – Creative teams are asked to create while under pressure to meet deadlines, meet financial restrictions in many cases, and then do it again for the next project. Is the environment and physical space conducive to collaboration but also one that can provide individual space? Think functionality, mobility and perhaps allowing each member to individualize their space. In the end it needs to be conducive to being there 5 days a week.
Work Schedules – The old 9-5 schedule may not be for everyone (if it even exists at all anymore.) Depending on your company’s policies, consider subtle shifts to schedules that accommodate staff and allow for maximum creativity while still working as an interconnected team.
Skills Development – Organizations are seeking creative professionals across all aspects of their creative teams who can effectively communicate with peers, clients, management, vendors and who can effectively articulate their thoughts and ideas. Encouraging the continuation of skills development – whether it’s a formal education perk your company provides or networking and industry-related seminars — can foster a “whole-brain” environment where creatives can create while successfully managing the business objectives at hand.
Career Path – When you build a team, you need to consider long-term strategies for each individual employee, but keep in mind that not everyone wants to move up or manage or take on more responsibility. Understanding your employees through regular communication and developing a mutual understanding of where you’d like to position them as well as where they see themselves within the organization long-term, can help you create a clear career path which is a great way to motivate while ensuring that everyone’s on the same page for success!