creative people

How to Manage Creative Employees Without Stifling Them

No one ever said that being a business leader is easy. Indeed, as any experienced professional knows, taking the lead on a creative project can be a stressful and trying experience – particularly if you’ve never done so before. Managers have to understand how to encourage, support, discipline, and direct their team members without resorting to micromanagement, which can stifle creativity; balancing all of these requirements is understandably tricky. Thankfully, today we’ll explain how you can get the most out of your team in any situation.

Set Out a Plan Early

Contrary to popular belief, employees don’t hate deadlines. Rather, deadlines help to guide and motivate professionals when they’re working on a big project. Plus, having multiple deadlines for an assignment will help you check in on employee progress without coming off as domineering.

Offer Quality Examples

Say, for instance, that you’re overseeing a website redesign. You have several different team members working with you –– a couple of web developers, a copywriter, and a marketing expert. While it’s important to offer your team direction for this project, you don’t want to hold their hand at every turn or make unreasonable demands. One great way to manage this situation is to provide your team with examples of websites that you think are effective –– so that they can see what you like and dislike and have a baseline to reference. Offering suggestions like these can help your team visualize their task and come together to complete it.

Budget for Trouble

The creative process –– unlike straightforward logistical or administrative procedures –– resists estimations and limitations. It’s impossible to say exactly when inspiration will strike, so it’s important to understand that creative professionals may require extra time to work out bad ideas before they arrive at a good one. What’s more, just because a creative professional seems behind schedule, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are. So measure your reactions to creative progress carefully.

Ease the Pressure

Of course, sometimes business leaders have to lay down the law and get their team to really focus on their assignment. However, a big part of modern leadership actually involves lightening the mood around the office. So don’t be afraid to take your staff out for a happy hour or long lunch if they’re feeling too stressed.


It’s difficult to overstate just how much employees value employers who trust them. When a business leader gives their team members agency, they almost always respond with their best efforts. Just as you’d rely on an external partner, like a barricade company, to fulfill a product order, be willing to let your creative team work their magic without constant supervision. It can be very difficult to resist the urge to monitor their progress, but things will go much more smoothly if you understand how to give employees space.

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