How to Effectively Manage the Creative-Minded Employee

Inspiration can come from anywhere. A career opportunity to advance, working as part of a  well-oiled team or nailing a challenging task are perceived in different ways from employee to employee. George can value repetition as progress, while Christina needs to add a touch of personalization on even the smallest parts of a project to feel engaged at work. Our third Vitru Value Series will teach manager show to cater to the creative-minded employees. This series is for all of our artists, designers, entrepreneurs; those who yearn for ingenuity and beauty in every piece of work they touch: creativity

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” -Maya Angelou

“It’s Not Ready Yet” 

Those that value creativity desire to transform new and imaginative ideas into reality. Expressing an original idea or putting a custom spin on even the littlest of things is woven into the soul of a creative. They are resourceful and value inventiveness. Having such a strong weight on the value of creativity can be a gift and a curse, when you are an “employed person.”

“I don’t have a year to make that ‘unique never-been-seen-before’ logo. I have to learn how be creative and still get all 20 of my projects done in week.” -Kristine Osborne, Graphic Designer, Red Branch Media

Balancing the inner virtuoso while hitting deadlines can be a struggle. There is a sacrifice required to be made when the deadline eventually comes. Whether it is surrendering the finished product’s special features seen in the mind’s eye or strictly sending the content to the client sans that perfect word you just couldn’t nail, the work must go on.

Management tip: See downtime between sprints as a mind reset. Allow mid-afternoon walks, contribute to the 5-minute chit chat about last weekend with a coworker and don’t let the occasional doodling give you an ulcer. Heard of the Pomodoro Technique? This strategy asks employees to work in 25-minute intervals, followed by five-minute breaks to not drain attention.

Give them an Outlet

A “real” job with timelines, deliverables and client feedback doesn’t have to be seen as “soul-sucking” by an artist. Knowing how to manage the creative means better ideas, boundaries pushed, beauty created, and happy customers.

“Sometimes you just need to empower,” says Evan Fry, executive director of creative development at Crispin Porter + Bogusky. “Certain creative talent responds really well to having a long leash…no matter what their title may be or their level of experience. Sometimes certain people really respond to healthy competition. We encourage whatever suits a person. We’ve seen what trial by fire can do. Some people really respond and then all of a sudden they’re your next leader.”

Redefining roles, or adapting a need to the person can produce a multi-beneficial agreement.  Require each content creator to submit 2 articles a day? Request one article and one on-topic cartoon for Greg who moonlights as a painter.

Management tip: If possible, present unconventional work into the creative’s work-load. Planning the holiday party, picking out client gifts or posting a gif on the company Instagram can be the little sprinkles to keep the creative engaged alongside the usual grind.

The Hidden Creatives 

It’s not only the van Gogh’s who have this trait. 70% want to be creative at work; and more than two-thirds believe it is management’s job to provide them with accelerated development opportunities in order for them to stay. Creativity is shown through mouthwatering sentences in industry reports, unique metaphors in speaking engagements, extensively coded mobile website menu navigation and multi-faceted project organization. How one approaches the world around them is what makes creativity unique and special to every person.

Management tip: Don’t undermine the creativity in non-creative roles. Show appreciation for how un-boring the sales spreadsheet just became.

So Happy Together 

A recent study by economists at the University of Warwick found that “human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.”

Work with those who value creativity and not against. Construct where they need a kick in the pants, but build up where they shine. Creating an environment where employees can stretch their creative minds while also completing the task can be a stimulating place of accomplishment and beauty. Can you tell who the creatives are in your office? Where do you rate on the spectrum? Take the free 10 minute Vitru assessment tool now to find out.

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original.
― Ken Robinson, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Bio: Ryan Mead

Ryan Mead is the CEO and Founder of Vitru, an employee assessment tool that provides recruiters, hiring professionals, coaches and managers with the insights they need to manage their teams and make better hiring decisions. Powered by science, yet practical and easy to use for a variety of teams, Vitru works for organizations of all size. Want to learn more? Visit our blog or sign up for a free team building personality test account to assess your team today! Tweet me at @GoVitru

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