How to keep your creative team inspired?

Alexandra Maksimova

August 19, 2022

1. Keep your creative team organized

When working with creative people, such as designers, musicians, painters, writers (or literally any sphere that requires creativity) you need to keep one thing in mind - being organized is most often not going to be their forte. When they get a kiss of the muse they can forget to message you back, or fill in some documentation, or update you on their progress. And that's completely normal! It's your job as a manager of this creative team to instill structures and systems that would allow the team to stay on track to achieve the business goals.

Some great examples of how we do this in our team is:

  1. Track all current tasks and their progress using Trello, where each team member has a clear schedule
  2. Send automated reminders via Slack: reminding the team to fill in documentation, follow up on any pending communication
  3. Scheduled catch-up calls twice a week, where the team gathers together to discuss successes, failures, blockers and anything else.
  4. Guides for pretty much anything you can think of: from client communication to sending Figma files to the client correctly.

2. Find the right balance between pressure and freedom

If you give people too much freedom, there is a risk they won’t take you seriously, but too much control can result in your team feeling like prisoners in a prison and kill all creativity. 

Finding a balance is key. Here is how we do this in our own team:

  1. We have very specific rules and systems in place that are mandatory to follow, but these are not simply enforced on the team! We take the time to explain why something has been put in place and the benefits it will have on the entire team. Any rules are always documented and explained, and the team leads gently nudge the team members to follow them, occasionally.
  2. We are happy to see initiative and change in the team, be it individual or in the entire design department - each person has the chance to pivot their career in GreenPixel and dive deeper into aspects of design that are more interesting.
  3. Client projects usually have limited room for creative expression, but we understand how important that is for our creative team, so occasionally we give everyone a chance to create, experiment and grow creatively.

3. Boost creativity by recognizing accomplishments

Recognising accomplishments is important for any team, but it is especially important for creative teams - any creative work is difficult to judge, so creative people often become their worst critics. In order to combat this, you need to take the time to recognise personal achievements, as well as team achievements regularly. If your creative team did a good job, thank them, acknowledge the great job that they did and the effort they put in as well as any other qualities that helped them successfully complete the project.

4. Take an individualistic approach

This again applies for any team, not just creative one, because each team member and their daily duties, routines and achievements are different. Their approach to work, character, strengths and weaknesses will also be unique. This means that you as a manager need to try to approach each person as a unique individual, taking all of these nuances into consideration when you work together. 

Having a manager understand you on a human level makes the employee feel valued and appreciated.

How can this be practically achieved?

  • Sit down with each employee individually to set up a growth plan, and ensure that they strongly participate in its formation
  • Leave space to pivot
  • Observe the strengths and weaknesses of each employee, encourage them to safely improve on their weaknesses and express their strengths to the fullest.

Overall, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to treat your teams, each team has their own rhythms, interactions, norms… And these things are often dictated by things outside of your control such as culture, social norms, the language spoken, previous experiences etc. 

But these are just some of the best practices of what works for our creative team at GreenPixel, keeping them motivated and inspired - and best practices are best when shared.

As always, you can pick and choose which one of these (or maybe all!) would be the best fit for your creative team, and you should therefore implement it into the work of your team.

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