8 Ways to Motivate Creative Teams
A motivated and creative professional is a highly valued asset for any business. As a leader of creative people, you have honed your skills and strategies to encourage these employees on your team to come up with innovative ideas, solve problems, and achieve success.
Here at Scoro, we know that managing creatives can present challenges, whether your team is working together in the office or remotely. As a result, you may find yourself casting around for fresh ideas on how to bring your team together, boost creativity, and motivate your employees.
Read on to discover how to encourage your creative teams and motivate them to do their best work.
1. Keep your creative team organized
Cumbersome work processes and administrative tasks not only eat up time but also sap the energy and motivation of you and your team. Whether you realize it or not, these are valuable company assets.
As such, it might be a good idea to invest in an end-to-end work management solution. Comprehensive work management software provides a range of features and innovative solutions that centralize and streamline work processes so your team can focus on what they do best.
2. Find the right balance between pressure and freedom
Once you have freed up time for everyone, you will need to consider how to best enhance creativity and productivity by striking the right balance between applying pressure and giving them their freedom.
The time crunch of a looming deadline can ramp up your team’s motivation and increase creativity, but as psychologist Robert Epstein notes:
“Too much stress and severe time constraints can kill creativity.”
Tight turnarounds are part and parcel of commercial success, but you must be sure to set realistic deadlines since your team will need time to let their minds wander until they hit on an innovative idea that might work. Your team will also need time to collaborate and bounce ideas off each other – and you – before refining or transforming them or going back to the drawing board.
It’s your knowledge of your team’s capabilities and limitations, coupled with your assessment of the project requirements, that enables you to strike this balance. As any manager can attest, it’s not always easy.
3. Make room for a variety of perspectives
Your team should have a diverse range of skills, experiences, and ways of thinking. Accommodating and valuing these differences motivates creative employees to engage more in their work and with their team and is a central practice to cultivating creativity in the workplace.
Being able to share different perspectives honestly and openly is also essential for encouraging the creativity of your team. Verbal brainstorming is one of the most common ways to generate a variety of perspectives and approaches to a problem. However, it is not always an effective way to generate and develop ideas as some creatives may be shyer than others or simply reluctant to share one particular idea with a group.
Instead, you might consider catching these more elusive contributions by providing anonymous suggestion boxes. Alternatively, you could go a step further and take part in “brainwriting” sessions. These written brainstorming exercises have been shown to generate more ideas than their verbal counterparts, as teams often feel more comfortable sharing ideas on paper or via email.
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4. Lead without leading…
Despite the prevalence of charismatic and confident leaders who attract and inspire people to follow them, current research shows that significantly more creativity is seen in teams whose leaders show humility.
By being open about their limitations and missteps and acknowledging their team’s strengths, these managers promote feelings of psychological safety, resulting in improvements in sharing information and collaborating. This, in turn, enhances creativity.
So perhaps a manager interested in stepping out of the traditional approach to leadership might want to focus more on an organizational role, facilitating the team’s work and allowing the team to explore leading themselves.
5. …But don’t be hands-off!
Of course, this approach to leadership doesn’t mean you should never step in. When your team is stuck – whether there is an ongoing conflict, or the team has become unruly – by all means, step in.
Keeping an eye on things is what good managers do, and if the team doesn’t seem able to correct itself on time, that’s the time to bring your skills and experience to the forefront.
6. Boost creativity by recognizing accomplishments
We are all aware of the power that recognizing good work can have on a team’s efforts, and that extrinsic incentives like financial rewards have some effect on motivation. However, most creatives are motivated more intrinsically by simply performing well and producing high-quality work.
When this work is recognized and appreciated by team members and managers, the incentive is further amplified.
Take time to commend a team member’s skills or innovative ideas when they’ve done something great.
Spurring the team on to recognize each others’ excellence can not only motivate them but also helps to set an example in encouraging creativity and – most importantly – promoting collaboration over competition. Try and be specific about exactly what it was that they contributed to the result, which will make your feedback far more meaningful than a simple well done.
When possible, give credit where it’s due in front of your team, other teams, other departments, and senior managers. This also applies when introducing your clients to your creatives – you should always impress upon clients what your team’s strengths are. Consistent, meaningful recognition across the board will help to incentivize your team.
7. Encourage your creatives to take risks
Many business routines may suppress the creative spirit and dull motivation, so finding ways to allow your team to take calculated risks and spread their wings can mitigate their boredom and stimulate their minds.
Some creatives need to be challenged to learn about a variety of things, others prefer to take a deep dive into one specialization, and a few may even want to explore leadership roles. A supportive manager of a creative team should take the time to consider how to help each individual on their team take the risks they want to take and encourage them to try new things.
Additionally, fostering a psychologically safe environment can help people feel more comfortable bringing up issues related to their colleagues, allowing for relationship issues to be dealt with in a supportive and healthy way. This includes any problems team members might have with the person in charge.
After all, team leaders can improve the psychological safety of their team by encouraging their team members to address issues with them directly rather than avoiding the issue and deepening any rifts.
8. Take an individualistic approach
Almost by definition, no two creative professionals are the same. One person may need the peace and quiet of their home to focus, while another will be more inspired by interacting with colleagues.
The same can be said for teams. Each is unique unto itself and, as such, it’s important to recognize that there are no hard and fast rules to follow – only guidance to consider.
No one knows better than you what your team will need, but we hope these points have provided some inspiration so that you and your team can enjoy the benefits of creativity in the workplace.
What’s more, Scoro’s work management software allows you to marshal resources effectively and realize your team’s full creative potential. If you would like to know more about how Scoro can help make your teams more creative and your company more productive, sign up for a 14-day free trial today!