Being a manager of a creative team requires you to have excellent listening skills, respect for your team members and an openness to new ideas.
You need to be a sounding board for your team but you also need to be a motivator, coach, guide, and mentor.
As the manager of the team, you need to have a vision of some future, better state. You also need to ensure that your team is bought into this vision. Strong communication skills are a must. Storytelling is often a very effective method of getting your vision across to others.
(Image Credit: John Athayde)
Try using different scenarios for your vision and get feedback from your team on what they feel would be the best scenario for the most effective way to realize your vision. This can often enable a greater sense of ownership.
You need to be inspirational. Make everyone feel that they are key to making some amazing things happen.
Provide a Sense of Purpose
All should feel like they have a sense of purpose and have a part to play towards achieving your end goal. This is very important. If team members are unclear on what is expected of them it is unlikely that your particular project or projects will gain any traction.
You need to regularly recognize the efforts of your team. This doesn’t necessarily need to be a financial recognition – just saying thank you for a job well done or for reaching a particular milestone is often a great means of keeping team morale high.
Try and be creative in how you recognize individuals – for example using desks near windows or access to a particular parking space for a period of time or (depending on the person) you may even want to offer them more responsibility as a reward.
Meet with your entire team at least weekly so you can all share progress, ideas and any obstacles you need to overcome.
Also have weekly one-on-one sessions with each team member to coach, guide and assess progress towards goals and objectives.
Monitor Team Dynamics
Constantly monitor the dynamics of your team. Diversity is key to an effective creative team. If you have too many individuals with similar skill sets and characteristics then you may need to make some hard personnel decisions.