As the next generation of growing businesses and entrepreneurs roll out, it is on our shoulders to set the example for the upcoming generations and assist them on their journey towards leadership and growth. Times have changed, especially in the creative industry. Today’s fresh talent need room to create, and the flexibility to spread their wings and explore their own passions. Start-ups looking to set foot in this cluttered and challenging industry need to adapt and create a space that welcomes this new talent.
Set them free, and they’ll come back with twice as much energy
Let’s backtrack to when we were kids and we would ask our parents for chocolates before bedtime, only to be denied and find ourselves craving those treats even more.
The same applies in a corporate environment – it’s basic psychology. We want what we can’t have. We can’t have that side gig, so we pump it up so much in our heads that we end up losing interest in our day jobs. We can’t grab a paintbrush and paint during work hours, so we start dreading the sight of our laptops at 2 pm.
So why not change the rules?
When your team member tells you they’re experiencing a mid-day slump and don’t feel like working, ride the wave. Give them the day off and allow them to spend their hours as they see fit. Chances are, they won’t be coming up with any ground-breaking ideas when they’re experiencing a slump– so why not paint at 2 pm and get back into their workflow at 12 AM – say when they’re feeling inspired again?
Trust them to deliver at their own pace
Creatives need wiggle room. They need to feel comfortable, supported and most importantly free to produce good work. They don’t like to be micromanaged! Inspiration is key, and most likely, they won’t be getting their inspiration sitting behind a desk.
You need to be able to trust your creative team and set realistic deadlines. If a project is due on Thursday, how and when they complete their work shouldn’t matter – as long as the deadline is met. Each creative has his or her own flow and that pace needs to be treated with patience and understood by leaders in the creative industry.
Besides, imagine all the time lost sitting over someone’s shoulders when you could be delivering great work yourself. Not only is micromanagement inefficient, but also creates an unpleasant experience and environment for all members of the team.
Be their own personal cheerleader
When your social executive tells you they’re passionate about food and want to start a food blog, support them. There are 24 hours in a day – and your team members are online 8 of these hours. They’re free to spend time outside working hours as they see fit.
Back in my first agency job, I remember waking up at 5 AM every day to learn the ins and outs of branding online. I would spend the first two to three hours of my day enhancing my skillset and be in the office by 9 am. Looking back, all that extra knowledge actually paid off and did not at all take away from my performance at work – if anything, it complemented it!
Side gigs are your friend, not your enemy. Allow your team members to spread their wings and nurture their skills – they’ll feel better all together, produce better work for the company and even enhance their work. A leader should never feel threatened by one of his or her team members wanting to venture out and explore their talents outside of the company canvas.
Prioritize them over company bottom lines
You could rule with an iron hand, and coerce your team members into working overtime, but that will only advance you in the short term on the financial side of things. Instead, invest your time and energy into ensuring your team members are happy. When the workload increases, hire new talent. Your financial growth may be slower, but your team build will be as strong as a rock.
Overall, I truly believe that great creative work and concepts that stick and create impact come from the heart. Keep your people happy, prioritize them and harness their skills – that’s where the magic is.