Leading Creative Teams is Like Herding Tigers

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what does it take to produce brilliant

creative work much of our economy is

driven by people who work create

on-demand jobs people whose job it is to

be brilliant at a moment's notice if

you're on a team like that and

especially if you lead a team like that

you're probably wondering what's the

secret a lot of people say it's Talent

some people think it's about creating a

fun and vibrant culture and others say

it's all about the grind and sheer will

well what if I told you that the secret

to delivering Greek creative work was

management for most creative people

management is the enemy

mainly because traditional management

approaches don't really work on

creatives for starters creative work is

by nature chaotic and unpredictable have

you ever tried to organize something

that doesn't want to be organized

not only that while creatives are some

of the most prolific problem solvers you

know capable of unleashing immeasurable

value within your organization they're

equally capable of eating management

alive if they don't get what they need

so what do they need two things

stability and challenge creatives need

to spend their precious time and

attention solving the problems they're

actually being paid to solve the problem

is organizations are giant chaos

monsters that want to suck every ounce

of time and attention in service of

their endless meetings last-minute

changes and out-of-touch policies so

someone has to create the stability the

team needs in order to keep their focus

on what's important without letting them

get too comfortable because they also

need challenged creative people want to

be pushed to take risks and to learn new

things but they need permission they

need their boss to believe in them and

they need to be coached along the way

and here's where it gets interesting

stability and challenge exist in tension

with one another not enough stability

and people wind up angry or

- little challenge and they feel stuck

but when there's a high level of

challenge and stability creative teams

thrive that's what they need and

managers unlike anyone else in the

organization are in the unique position

to create both so the next time you

daydream about crossing management off

the org chart remember

they might just be the one thing you

need to produce your best work ever


let's get management there's a dumpling