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Building A Good Creative Culture
By: Stephen Brewster
Leadership can be tricky. Expectations creep in stronger while vision continually leaks. It’s not easy to create engaging, creative, and collaborative environments. Further, leaders are human, which means we’re 100% guaranteed to make mistakes, mess up, and fail from time to time.
But don’t give up hope – great creative cultures can be built. It takes very intentional work and remembering a few important behaviors:
- The gift of not always being right. – As a leader, we don’t have to know everything. The illusion of control will kill us if that is our goal. We have teammates for a reason – use them. Allow teammates to do what they do and shine and accept that we’re not going to be always right. That is what makes our team strength not a personal weakness.
- Willingness to admit and own mistakes. – Own that our personal mistakes will happen. It will set a tone for teammates to do the same and not try to hide errors, but be willing to share them so teams can adjust.
- Grace to coach. – When things go wrong, use the moment to coach, but don’t hold on to the issue personally. Remember to extend grace to the level you would want grace extended to you…all the while holding people accountable for their responsibilities and for getting better.
- Protection from the haters. – Protect our artists. As a leader, we are responsible to buffer for our teams. Let them create passionately without the fear of haters.
- Hustle from the top down. – Simply: the pace of the leader is the pace of the team. It’s not about 80-hour workweeks, but about how we approach the hours we do work.
- Tell the truth. – Leaders have to make hard decisions at times. Be upfront and honest at all times.
- Set expectations. – Staying on the same page as the rest of your team is crucial. Set the stage for success by being clear on what is expected and what roles are required to be filled. When team members fail to meet these expectations, be willing to coach and create a path to their success.
- Value people – People are not widgets. Treat them like people. Think about them as people – not spots on an Org chart. Engage them and relationships with them so you know WHO they are not just what they do.
- Treat everyone fair, but not the same. – People are different and need to be approached differently. Everyone will not be treated the same, but everyone should be treated fair. Make sure to not play favorites.
- Deflect & Own. – Deflect praise to team members and the teams work. Own blame and error individually as the leader, then coach and correct the team. Throwing people under the bus never builds good culture.
Continue working hard to create amazing creative environments. When we do, we set up our teams to win, create the ability to bring in the best talent, and build cultures where we actually LIKE to do what we love with people we enjoy working with.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”98″][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]Stephen wants to encourage people to be brave enough to be their creative best. He serves as the Creative Pastor at Real Life Church in Orlando, Florida. He has spent the past 15 years in professional creative environments including church, music business, marketing, management, artist development, creative team leading and art directing. He lives in Orlando, FL with his wife Jackie and their four amazing kids.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]