Managing a creative team can be incredibly fun, but also exceptionally challenging. It’s helpful to give some thought to what your leadership style is and how you can make it work for everyone.
Take our quiz to find out which leadership styles is yours. Then follow our advice on how to leverage or adjust that style to get the most out of your creative team.
How would you summarise your leadership style?
- I tell my team what to do and manage them closely.
- I lead by example.
- I nurture and develop my team.
- I work collaboratively with my team.
What is most important to you at work?
- Getting the job done.
- Playing my part in the success of the business.
- Helping my team build lasting personal strengths.
- Shared success as a team.
How do you get the best from your team?
- I am very clear on what needs to be achieved and how.
- By doing the best myself.
- By providing encouragement and inspiration to help motivate.
- Everyone is involved and therefore invested in the outcome.
What is your relationship with your team?
- There is a clear divide between me and my team.
- I am friendly whilst maintaining a managerial relationship.
- I know my team well and am invested in their personal and career aspirations.
- I treat my team as equals.
How do you give feedback?
- Little feedback is sought or needed from my team.
- I give credit where credit is due.
- I give instruction and feedback often.
- I guide but also empower my team to develop and explore their own creativity.
What is your view on collaboration with your team?
- I make choices based my own ideas and judgements and rarely accept advice from followers.
- I have a tendency to make decisions on my own.
- I make decisions but seek input and suggestions too.
- This is the key to how I run my team.
What do you consider are your strengths?
- I give clarity and structure. I excel at jobs with great urgency that are time critical.
- I earn respect by expecting the same standards of everyone, including myself.
- I provide an ongoing dialogue so people know what is expected of them and how their work fits into a larger vision or strategy.
- Making everyone feel valued and an integral part of the team.
If you answered mostly As
You are an Authoritarian
This type of leader is firm, inflexible and believes that rules, project specs and timelines are set in stone. Unfortunately, your desire for order might not be the most natural match for some creative employees, who need room to breathe in order to perform at their best.
You might want to consider softening your approach, otherwise you risk intimidating your creatives from bringing ideas forward. The key to making this leadership style work with your team is by picking your battles. Allow them to be flexible as long as they’re being productive and turning in great work. A little give-and-take can go a long way. You can also consider including milestones with every deadline, so nobody finds out at the last minute that you’re unable to consider changes.
If you answered mostly Bs
You are a Role Model
This type of leader believes in leading by example. You strive to display excellence and believe that a good example is all your employees need to do their best. One of your biggest advantages is the ability to win people over. Your belief that your employees will follow your lead shows that you trust them.
Though your belief in modelling good habits is well intentioned, remember that your creative employees might have their own way of doing things, relying on unique approaches to develop their ideas. If they don’t immediately follow your lead, don’t take it personally. Instead focus on making sure you set clear expectations up front so the outcome is sound.
If you answered mostly Cs
You are a Coach
This type of leader gives constant feedback and tries to take advantage of each person’s skills to build a strong team. Take advantage of your team-building abilities to find the chemistry with different members of your staff.
Your tendency to give lots of feedback is great, but be careful with how it’s delivered. Sometimes a very straightforward comment can be interpreted as harsh in a creative setting. Sharing a creative idea can be very personal and make certain team members feel vulnerable. Be sure to give feedback kindly and acknowledge the courage it takes to share creative ideas.
If you answered mostly Ds
You are an Egalitarian
This type of leader takes a democratic approach. You invite your creative team to weigh in on all decisions, and you encourage them to make their voices heard at all times. This style of leadership will be valued by almost any type of employee, but will be especially appreciated by your creative team.
Encouraging team members to speak up shows that you respect them, which creates a healthy and happy working environment. Do remember, though, that you are still a leader and at times you will need to exercise your authority. Create guidelines while still encouraging your staff to share. The result will be a productive and respectful relationship between you and your team.
Whatever your leadership style, there is a way to make it work with your creative team. The trick is to identify your style, your beliefs and your tendencies first. From there you can make informed, strategic decisions about how you will lead.
Need some more hiring advice? We’ve created a ‘how to’ guide on all you could ever want to know when looking to source, build and maintain your creative team. From deciding which roles your team needs, to conducting the perfect interview, to being a great leader - and everything in between. And if that’s not amazing enough, it’s also free! Download it here.