There are some lessons that are only learned the hard way.
One of those has to do with working with creatives.
I used to think when leading creatives, the key was to free them to create.
I’ve learned — the hard way — that freedom alone for a creative can spell disaster. Nothing gets accomplished. No one is happy.
Please understand. I’m not a creative basher.
I am actually a creative. Not an artistic creative, but an idea creative.
And, it’s true for me too. It’s the way I thought I wanted or needed to be lead. Wrong.
I’ve learned these tips the hard way, attempting to lead creatives — and attempting to lead myself.
Creatives don’t need freedom — or at least freedom alone — they need more than that.
Here are 3 things creatives need to flourish.
1. Clear lines of direction. A clear vision. The box drawn around a certain end goal or objective.
2. The freedom to draw within the lines. (There’s the freedom creatives love.) Limited micromanagement. Maximum empowerment. The freedom to fail. The freedom to dream. All within the broad — very broad — but defined boundaries.
3. Accountability along the way. Someone to check in with them periodically. Motivate them. Give them encouragement. Let them know they are making progress — that they are doing good work.
Without the lines — without the accountability — creatives don’t flourish — they flounder. Things aren’t creative. They are messy.
Creatives love freedom — but it works best sandwiched between clarity and structure.
When those 3 are combined — lines, freedom and accountability — stuff gets done — and everyone is happy.
(Or mostly everyone. If everyone is happy someone’s not leading — creatives or otherwise.)