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Five qualities of a good manager of creatives

When you manage a team of highly skilled creatives, what you’ve been taught in the past about management may be moot. Creatives are a special breed. They are sensitive, independent, curious, aesthetically inclined and perceived as risk-takers.

Look at some of the most popular and talented creatives in the world – from artists and actors to tech wizards and entrepreneurs. From Van Gogh’s ear incident to Lady Gaga’s meat dress, creatives often leave a distinct impression.

Creatives are typically clever, uninhibited and sometimes thought of as stubborn, unconventional or even withdrawn; but what is really happening is they are just supremely focused. Creatives can be surprisingly quiet, and just as surprisingly assertive. Managing unique personality types can be enjoyable, or it can be your downfall – and theirs, if you don’t understand them.

Here are five qualities of good managers that are effectively used to manage a team of visionaries, no matter what their job titles.

  • Know their personality type: Knowing who you are working with can help you to understand their personality and how to approach unique situations. A popular test is the “Bird Personality” or Dove, Owl, Peacock, Eagle (DOPE) test to determine traits of each staff member.
  • Lead by example: Show up at team events, treat staff how you want them to treat you and one another and follow through on timelines. Show respect and respect will be returned.
  • Trust: You’ve chosen your staff. Now let them fly. Trust is a key component in motivation and generating confidence in your employees. There are limits, but you’ve chosen them for a reason; let them prove you right.
  • Problem solving: Due to the unique nature of creatives, a unique approach to dealing with tough situations may be needed. One thing to remember is because of the competitive nature of creatives, you never want to criticize in front of peers. Public chastising can deflate confidence and foil creativity. That goes for all employees, not just creatives.
  • Set a standard and keep it: Just because your staff of creatives comes with a set of different personalities doesn’t mean the same rules don’t apply to all. Even if they are extraordinarily talented, it doesn’t mean you have to put up with employees that can’t play by the rules. Setting a precedent for what you’re willing to deal with and keeping it will help your staff understand the company’s expectations and follow through.

OK, we lied, we’ve got one more.

  • Enjoy your creatives. You are lucky to have them!