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4 principles to learn how to manage creative people

Creative individuals require skillful creative managers!

Many companies are longing for THE best idea to develop their business or create new opportunities, and they logically rely on creative process, such as design thinking for example. However, apart from business departments “used to creativity”, it’s quite useful to learn how to manage creative profiles. Some people will tell you this is not as easy as it seems.

Creative people have their own motivation factors, sometimes puzzling. Understanding and accepting these particularities is a major point, as it requires being able to align their personal goals with the ambition of the project or the business, in a meaningful manner.

At first, a strong dose of intuition will be of great help, as intuition helps taking into account weak signals of human communication. Managers can also rely of four simple principles.

1. Take the time to identify clearly their ways of functioning as individuals

A project often begins with the definition of a general objective, setting a frame to give a more or less precise vision of the manager’s expectations, believing that this “shared vision” will be sufficient for creative people to express their talents. However, it is more logical to start the other way round, to combine their personal motivation factors with the ambition of the project. The manager must have a clear understanding of their personal abilities, of their personality traits, which requires dedicating some time for connection, observation, discovery of others.

2. Personalize the project phases accordingly

Identifying the ways to enable a creative person to provide quality work is as important as knowing which skills they could bring to the team. Some talents will for example answer positively with a great margin of choice. Granting them autonomy, no matter their rank within the organization or degree of experience, will be required. Some creative persons will appreciate working in a healthy competitive environment, some won’t. The way to communicate on targets as well as key steps, or more globally to manage the project team, will have to take into account these individual factors.

3. Create a “virtuous confusion”

Creativity is a process which emerges at one moment in a swirl of moments. If this phase stimulates creative profiles, it may be considered by managers as a lack of organization and a waste of time, losing sight of objectives. It is essential to leave time and space, within a project, to this specific ferment of creativity. It is a necessary condition to let creative ideas pop up, and the manager must create the appropriate atmosphere.

4. Take part in the action

Daring taking part in the action by actively participating in the creative phases of the project is a good way to instill the respect of creative people, who will see the implication of their manager as an invitation to go the extra mile. Managers will also benefit from their techniques and skills, to develop their own talents, to work with other types of intelligences, therefore developing their own leadership. Drawing, prototyping, imagining….here are wonderful learning opportunities!