Creatives are free spirits, it’s a fact of life. It doesn’t appeal to them to be restricted artistically and professionally. As a result, artists such as graphic designers are turning to freelance work in the hopes of becoming their own bosses. When you own your time and space, you can shape your hours and environment to allow for the least creative burnout possible.
But when you are leading a creative team that depends on your guidance, things change a lot! Low team morale, a tight office climate, and the need to develop new ideas regularly may all be daunting. As a supervisor, recruiting manager, or creative team leader, you want to create the ideal environment and resources for your team to be productive. Yeah, I know, it’s way easier said than done. The good thing is that it’s possible.
Trying to “manufacture” creativity on a daily basis increases the risk of creative burnout. If employees are hesitant to express their concerns, detecting burnout in creative teams becomes very challenging. That’s why you must always be on the alert for indicators of creative burnout as a leader.
Here are some strategies I have figured out that help me achieve long-term creative productivity within my teams while avoiding that mental breakdown.
create a high-productivity atmosphere:
Do you want to be a great leader in an oppressive, authoritarian place where your employees are treated unfairly and unjustly? Good luck with that, it’s impossible. Today, we should all strive for participation, freedom, cooperation, direct interaction, purpose, and consensual decisions. This is what I mean when I say “very productive atmosphere”, because only in such circumstances will your staff be eager to work together towards common goals. It’s not just making the office a “fun space”; it’s about helping your team reach their potential, helping them with personal projects, and being empathic.
How close are you to achieving that?
be a role model for your creative team:
If you demand something one day but don’t follow through, your actions will be questioned. Don’t talk about participation, diversity, or collaborative decisions if you’re going to impose your authority and standards at the end. Always remember that you are the visible leader of your team.
rotate functions and duties:
Changing roles from time to time is a great way to keep them motivated and avoid burnout. Also, it’s an amazing way to practice empathy within the company, since everyone will better understand their coworkers’ roles. I’m not suggesting that you do it every week or every two months, but you should do it whenever your company embarks on new cycles or professional activities.
Evolution is the best strategy to build a new skill and to improve your teammates’ passion for the joint objective.
bet on open communication:
Leaders who speak plainly and directly about matters of common interest are respected and inspire confidence. Genuine and straightforward communication is a great way to create honest bonds, respect, and motivation. You must stay away from artificiality!
Outside-the-office activities are a wonderful way to develop friendships and foster openness.
forget deadlines. Come up with timelines:
As a leader, you surely feel a great responsibility for your customers’ satisfaction. And rightly so. The problem is that this usually turns to unrealistic expectations and demands on your creative team. That’s why I negotiate timelines instead of setting deadlines for my team. I always have related DEADlines to problems, but timelines are a blueprint to find solutions. Together, my team and I discuss the project’s different requirements and create a roadmap that is usually at a comfortable middle ground between what the client needs and what the team can deliver.
do it with purpose:
Businesses are supposed to earn money, but you’re gonna have a really hard time motivating your team (and ultimately, yourself) if money is the only thing you’re chasing.
People, especially creative people, like to work on projects with purpose and to follow a leader who wants to achieve great things, make changes, and challenge ideas and limits.
Question your actions. If the answer to what you’re doing is more than money, make sure your team knows!
As a creative leader, I try to develop innovative tools daily to offer my team the direction and atmosphere they need to thrive, and I’ve realized that the most important thing is to always be open-minded. Fomenting a spirit of debate, new ideas, innovation, exchange, constant learning, and honest communication is the best way to guarantee that you and your team remain sharp, excited, creative, and happy.
To keep your creative team from becoming stuck, adopt a proactive approach. Anticipate and attempt to avoid frictions before they occur. And when it does happen, respect the creative process, practice empathy, and move on with a solution-oriented mindset.