August 4, 2015

Managing Creative Employees: 5 Steps on How to Manage Creative Employees

Your employees are incredibly valuable! Obviously, if you’re a leader or manager you know that. But do you always act that way? Do you encourage creativity and insight from these employees or are you always king or queen of the mountain? What are managing creative employees?

Since your employees are experts – after all, your company only hires experts, right? – these employees need to be stimulated to be more creative in order to solve current issues and, also to, diminish future problems before they occur.

Managing creative employees can be a challenge. Here are 5 steps that – through my research and experience – have been helpful in managing creative employees:

Step 1) Make Sure All Decisions Makers Are on Board
The decision makers need to be willing to “think outside of the box.” If you ask employees to think outside of the box, yet management is still stuck “inside the box,” you will create frustration and anger from your employees. (Plus, you and management just look stupid.)

Step 2) – Encourage Employees to Come with a Formulated Plan
Any new idea should be presented to management with a complete plan of action, as well as costs, potential issues, proposed outcomes, etc.

Step 3) Review the Plan with an Open Mind
Look at the whole plan with an open mind and don’t just focus on the negative. Small minded people maximize the negative and minimize the positive. Sure, be aware of the down side, but make sure you look at the upside. Which leads me to…

Step 4) Take Risks
You can’t get to second base with your foot on first. How many great ideas never got the green light because some executive was afraid of the outcome. “That’s not the way we do business,” “We’ve never done that before,” and so on. Trust me, if it’s a good plan and there is more upside than downside, someone else will take that risk and those that didn’t get to play catch-up. Never fun. Just take baby steps. Small ideas become big ideas.

Step 5) If It Doesn’t Work – Review, Learn and Try Again
Examine what went wrong, make corrections and try again, Find out if someone was holding back; not doing their part, something changed in the industry… check it out and try again.

Sure, the idea or solution that your creative employees devise may not work and may cost the company so cash. But so, what? Try again!

As President Kennedy once said, “There are risks and costs to any program of action. But they are far less then the long range risks and costs of comfortable in-action.”

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