Creative people have a critical role to play in an organization’s growth and success, but there can be truth to the stereotype that creative people appear a bit more scattered than their left-brained colleagues. However, if you properly leverage creative talent, the benefit to your team will be a rewarding infusion of fresh ideas and innovation.
So what’s going on with the creative people you work with or manage? Here are three things to keep in mind about creative people and how you can work better with them.
They imagine things that never have been and ask, “Why not?”
The biggest thing for creative types is a categorical dismissal of things that already exist. Why would they want to invest creative energy on something that’s: A) already been done, or B) has been prescribed to them like a recipe on an index card? Ryan Mecum , author of the popular Zombie Haiku book series , put it this way: “My creativity hours should not be put into a box. The more a job attempts to contain my creativity, the less I create.”
Takeaway: If you hear a creative person say, “Just tell me what you want,” you have just witnessed a surrender of their creative essence.
They understand that creativity begets creativity.
Because creative people expect themselves to be creative, they add space in their process time to imagine and evolve their ideas. But not all creative ideas can be generated on demand like an improv sketch comedy show. Creativity is an ongoing process, even when your colleague does not appear to be working. Mecum adds, “Reading a good book or watching a good movie can be imagination fuel for my brain. What some might see as wasting time, I see as encouragement.”
Takeaway: Don’t throw a proverbial giant foam finger at your creative colleague and expect an instant result or see their inspiration research as goofing off.
They sometimes need to execute under a cloak of invisibility.
Once an idea has enough stickiness to hold onto the wall like cooked spaghetti, there’s often a burst of focus and energy. Creative people need to ride this wave of inspiration to execute. So when you see those headphones go on, I advise you to respect it and keep a safe distance. For Penn Holderness, creative director for Greenroom Communications and the mastermind behind millions of viral views on YouTube , getting his “me time” is critical: “It’s in one of three places — in the shower, on the toilet or lying on my bed by myself with the door closed. This works because there are no phones, electronics, anything in any of these places; it is quiet; and they are the only three places in the house where children can’t bother you.”
Takeaway: When creative people are in the zone, keep a safe distance.
As you can see, respecting the way creative people work differently will go a long way in setting them up to continually contribute their best to your organization.
What do you see creative people doing differently? Share with us on Twitter @ShareFile.