Welcome back for the second instalment of my series! If you haven’t had a chance to read it yet, I’d recommend going back and starting here: https://powerfulpoints.com.au/the-art-of-managing-a-creative-team-part-1/.




All caught up? Righto then, let’s get into it. In Part 1, I delved into the first pillar of managing a creative team – STRUCTURE. Part 2 is going to be all about FREEDOM. It’s time to unleash the creative beast that is your team.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘Structure followed up by freedom… that’s pretty contradictory!’. Just stick with me and I’ll make some sense out of it. In my experience, structure is the tool that allows your team to be free. If we as managers construct and streamline the day-to-do, i.e. mundane necessities, our designers don’t need to worry about them. This creates time and enables your creatives to be just that – creative. If there is one thing I have learned, true creativity requires time and can’t be rushed.

And that’s just one way of freeing our team members. The second, and arguably the most important, is giving them the freedom to make mistakes. As Oscar Wilde once said…

“Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”

Knowing that it’s OK to make mistakes helps to create a sense of release and encourage bravery. I was recently reading a piece by Maria Scilappi which hit the nail on the head…

“If something doesn’t work out, you haven’t failed. You’re still inside the creative process; you’ve simply found a pivot point. It’s only a failure if you haven’t learned from it.

If we’re afraid to make mistakes, we’ll only be capable of doing things we’ve already done. We won’t grow, and our design projects will suffer. To find harmonious, effective design solutions, we can’t afford to be timid learners or skittish about mistakes.”

This is the culture I strive to create for my team. If something fails, PIVOT and lean on the learning. With this culture, you should start to notice a shift in your team, particularly the junior and mid-level staff. Admittedly, it’s not easy – we’ve been taught all the way back from our schooling days that knowing the right answer, right away, is key. In design, there isn’t always one right answer. Helping your team to shed themselves of pressure to deliver that one right answer will release them to find all the endless possibilities for their projects.

And that’s it! That’s how I give my team the FREEDOM they need to get through their days. Disagree or have something to add? Reach out and let me know. I’m always looking for new ways to operate more effectively.

Next time, I’ll delve deeper into what I mean by SUPPORT when it comes to managing creatives.

Watch this space.