Leadership can be tricky. Expectations creep in stronger while vision continually leaks. It’s not easy to create engaging, creative, and collaborative environments. Further, leaders are human which means we’re 100% guaranteed to make mistakes, mess up, and fail from time to time.
But don’t give up hope – great creative cultures can be built. It takes very intentional work and remembering a few important behaviors:
The gift of not always being right.
As a leader, we don’t have to know everything. The illusion of control will kill us if that is our goal. We have teammates for a reason – use them. Allow teammates to do what they do and shine and accept that we’re not going to be always right. That is what makes our team strength not a personal weakness.
Willingness to admit and own mistakes.
Own our personal mistakes will happen. It will set a tone for teammates to do the same and not try to hide errors, but be willing to share them so teams can adjust.
Grace to coach.
When things go wrong, use the moment to coach but don’t hold on to the issue personally. Remember to extend grace to the level you would want grace extended to you . . . all the while holding people accountable for their responsibilities and for getting better.
Protection from the haters.
Protect our artists. As a leader, we are responsible to buffer for our teams. Let them create passionately without the fear of haters.
Hustle from the top down.
Simply: the pace of the leader is the pace of the team. It’s not about 80-hour work weeks, but about how we approach the hours we do work.
Tell the truth.
Leaders have to make hard decisions at times. Be upfront and honest at all times.
Staying on the same page as the rest of your team is crucial. Set the stage for success by being clear on what is expected and what roles are required to be filled. When team members fail to meet these expectations, be willing to coach and create a path to their success.
People are not widgets. Treat them like people. Think about them as people—not spots on an Org chart. Engage them and relationships with them so you know WHO they are not just what they do.
Treat everyone fair, but not the same.
People are different and need to be approached differently. Everyone will not be treated the same, but everyone should be treated fair. Make sure to not play favorites.
Deflect and Own.
Deflect praise to team members and the teams work. Own blame and error individually as the leader, then coach and correct our team. Throwing people under the bus never builds good culture.
Continue working hard to create amazing creative environments. When we do, we set up our teams to win, create the ability to bring in the best talent, and build cultures where we actually LIKE to do what we love with people we enjoy working with.
What would you add to the list?
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