Are you a true creative leader?

Essentials every creative leader must master, by Workfront CMO Joe Staples

One minute, you’re in charge of only yourself. The next, you’re head of a team of creatives – your former peers – often with little or no management training. In order to transition to become a true creative leader, you must cultivate balance and skill in three key areas: people, processes and technology.

Leading People

The best managers do more than just lead by example. They recognise the importance of setting clear expectations, holding team members accountable, recognising employee contributions, and rewarding top performance. They understand that a person’s relationship with his or her direct manager has the greatest overall impact on job satisfaction, and that happy employees are productive employees.

In a nutshell, true leadership requires authentically caring about those who fall below you on the company org chart and setting them up for success. With recent Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development surveys showing that less than half of UK workers (47%) are satisfied at work, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

Leading Processes

In The UK State of Enterprise Work Report from Workfront, more than 2,000 UK office workers were asked what would do the most to improve their productivity. The top three answers were:

* more efficient work processes

* uninterrupted blocks of work time

* more advanced technology

If you’d like to grant all three of these wishes for your team, look to project management software. A strong majority (75%) of those surveyed who already use such a solution say it helps them to be more productive. Of course, software is never a magic bullet. You must design efficient processes to begin with and then find the right solution to streamline, simplify and amplify your efforts.

Managing Technology

The last couple of years have seen an explosion in technology solutions for creative and marketing teams, not to mention all the business, productivity and communication solutions that are available as well. As of early 2015, there were almost 1,900 marketing technology companies across 43 different product categories – a number that nearly doubled from a year before. It’s more essential than ever for leaders to understand how to wade through available options – from digital asset management (DAM) to content and email marketing to social media tools – and invest in the solutions that will keep their team relevant and competitive.

Where Can You Improve?

Whether or not ‘manager’ is part of your current job title, there’s no better time than the present to develop your creative leadership skills. If you find you’re lacking in one or more of the areas addressed above, look to the forthcoming Creative Leaders 50 for examples of those who are doing amazing work addressing the people, process and tech challenges that creatives face today. If you’re already being inspired by a great leader, please help us to create the inaugural Creative Leaders 50 by nominating them here. Download the full UK State of Enterprise Work Report from Workfront here

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