Building a creative team isn’t just about hiring the most talented and innovative people. The ones you hire must also have the ability and willingness to collaborate with a team of unique, creative individuals. The ability to forge and maintain relationships — with coworkers, stakeholders, and/or clients — is also crucial. Assuming that you already have well-established values and vision, it’s important that your creative team be aligned.
Building the most effective creative team
Assembling an effective team can be challenging. Here's a rundown of things to keep in mind.
Hiring the right people
The first thing to look for is skills, of course. Do they have the technical skills for the job? And do they have sufficient experience? Then, see if they have the personality, work ethic, work style, and soft skills that fit the culture of your team and your core values. Some soft skills to look out for include big-picture thinking, communication, problem-solving, and mediation, to name a few.
Setting an efficient process
Creative people, like anyone else, vary in the way they work and finish tasks. However, this doesn’t mean they should work with little supervision. The success of projects lies in following timeframes and achieving targets. Effective creative teams have leaders who clearly define expectations and set realistic and achievable goals, deadlines, and schedules. Checks and balances ensure that everyone is on track. Creative individuals are passionate and imaginative. And clearly defined direction keeps that passion and imagination in focus.
Establishing strong leadership
Creative team leaders must have the technical skills and expertise to succeed on every project. But it doesn't end there. A strong visionary leader must be able to inspire and motivate the team and clearly communicate the vision. It’s important to show trust and perfect the balance between being open to everyone's ideas and standing firm and making decisions promptly. It also entails promoting a safe-to-fail and safe-to-risk culture. Creatives can’t thrive in an environment where failure isn’t an option.
Keeping the workplace conducive to creativity
Your workspace must help your team comfortably work through their creative process and, at the same time, be able to collaborate with others when needed. A good workspace for creativity also means access to resources and tools necessary to accomplish their tasks. It can also mean giving everyone on the team the option to work and be productive wherever they want, whenever they want. Or creating a PTO policy that meets the needs of your business as well as the team members.
What makes an effective creative team?
Here are a few characteristics to find and nurture to create a solid and effective team of creatives.
Ability to disagree in a healthy way
Strong creative teams usually have dissimilar personalities, unique experiences, and contrasting skills. So, you can expect your meetings to be filled with strong, even conflicting, opinions. An effective leader can rally the team and bring them on board with team decisions, especially those who initially opposed them.
It’s already a given that members of a creative team have their own strengths and skills. However, to ensure that everyone is going in the same direction and hitting the targets, seek consistency. When you give a creative team a project, make sure to set clear guidelines upfront, so they understand what they’re up against from the beginning. Deliver requests, comments, and deadlines as clearly and concisely as possible.
Diversity can be a gold mine of creativity. It’s up to team leaders to embrace the breadth of perspectives, information, and ideas. It’s not enough to bring different people together in a team. Leaders must also consider the dynamics of the team, and cultivate an inclusive environment that facilitates the exchange of diverse ideas.
Willingness to collaborate
In creative teams, collaboration must be a top priority. Value and nurture a culture of listening deeply to coworkers and clients alike. Create and maintain a working environment that enables everyone to efficiently work across teams, brainstorm ideas, and execute them.
Shared vision and a sense of purpose
Successful creative teams are bound by a unified mission. Everyone on the team must be aligned on the project goals and creative direction. In addition, each person must put equal value on their individual contributions and how those contribute to the bigger picture.
Building an effective creative team entails balancing giving the creatives ample space, time, and autonomy to complete their tasks and providing a structure that will keep everyone on target. When this is done right, the brilliance of every creative member of your team will bring about success and growth that everyone can benefit from.