I believe the trick to being a great creative leader is to remain centered.
No, I don’t mean the center of attention. Far too many managers and directors have gone down that path in a flaming blaze of egotistical glory. By centered, I’m talking about the realization that to be effective, you need to be the person in the middle. Every time.
For example, if there’s a particularly vexing assignment, you have to put yourself between your creative team and the internal clients, urging them both on to find unique solutions that will resonate with the audience, urging your team to have patience or your client to provide further insights. Depending on the moment, you may be playing both sides of the fence, with the goal of helping both sides succeed.
I witnessed this centering firsthand many years ago as a young writer. My CD put himself between an impossibly tight client deadline (tick, tick, tick) and the inexperienced, freaked-out video editor who was in way over his head. It was a very tense evening. But by keeping his cool and communicating effectively with all parties he kept everything in context and got the project out the door.
Is this the job you signed up for?
Think of it this way: In baseball, everyone would love to be Yankee superstar Derek Jeter. Joe Giradi (the current Yankees manager)? Not so much.
Jeter gets it all–the salary, the supermodel girlfriend, and the media accolades. Giradi gets the heartburn and the heartaches, and media attention only if the team is sucking wind.
But as the creative leader, for better or worse, that’s the role you’ve chosen. You are the manager in another highly competitive team sport. Your success depends on the success of your team. And that success will come (or not) based on how well you can remain centered, and keep everyone focused on the task at hand.
These POVs brought to you by an experienced member of Boom Ideanet where crowdsourcing is civilized.