Management Tips For Your Design Team: A Guide
Managing a team of designers and creatives is veritably exciting. You’re privileged to work alongside imaginative and driven individuals with a number of different creative skills. You’ll love the input that they give you on different tasks and the way in which they pull through for you in the thought moments. However, there are downsides to running a creative team too. They’re often a little less business-savvy and, therefore, require a little more direction in order to deliver for you. That’s why we’ve created this short guide to help you manage a creative team expertly. Read on to learn how.
Within a creative team, you’ll have several different personalities. You’ll have the meticulous designers who like to get things spot-on and perfect, while you’ll also have the creatives who are constantly coming up with far-fetched ideas that you sometimes need to temper. Each of these personalities has something to bring to the table, but they also represent a challenge for managers, who are interested in building and maintaining harmony within their teams.
The best way to manage your personnel is via ‘individual management’, which essentially sees your team as a group of unique and talented individuals that all deserve your respect and attention. Take each one aside from time to time in order to ask them how their work is going, if they need any assistance or inspiration, and to check in with their motivation. Keep everyone’s spirits up in order to run an effective, motivated team of enthusiastic individuals.
Next up is how you organize your files. As a design team, you’re forever creating files. They might be documents that contain written branding and instructions for businesses or other designers. They might be images, photos, animations, GIFs, videos, sounds, or so much more. All of these files are likely stored across a network of cloud-based servers or are otherwise saved on individual devices. This mess of different files across platforms and devices means that many of your digital assets simply go to waste – unfound by the people who need them.
This isn’t the best way to manage your digital output. In fact, there are other strategies that bring together your entire digital catalog of creativity in one place, where all of your workers can access any document or file with ease. These services are provided by specialist file management providers and their software. Make use of digital asset management (DAM) software in order to store all of your files in one place, helping your workers access the files they need no matter where they are in the world.
As well as managing individuals, you’ll also want your workers to be motivated to design their socks off while they’re at work. You don’t want slack periods of presenteeism, which simply means that you’re paying the wages of your workers without them producing any work. Instead, you want them to be constantly learning, evolving, and working in order to make the most of the talent you have at your disposal. This means motivating your team to strive for more and giving them incentives to do so.
There are some fairly common incentives out there that most managers are fully aware of. For instance, the ‘employee of the month’ award is something that can help teams compete in a friendly fashion to impress you and your own managers. Prizes should be offered whenever someone’s pulled something remarkable out of the bag, too. Do be ready to give plenty of positive feedback to your teams in order to keep them focused and happy while they’re producing their excellent work.
Your workers need tools. Designers certainly need tools, as they use both complex software and high-quality hardware in their day-to-day work. It’s your job, as a manager, to ensure that your workers have ready access to these tools at all times. That means you’ll need to make sure they have the devices they need to do their work, and often that’ll mean getting them the fastest laptops to run complex software that would simply crash cheaper alternatives. It also means paying for subscriptions to creative software such as that provided by Adobe.
If you’re not providing the tools that your team needs to be creative, you’ll be failing in your duty as a manager to facilitate excellent work. You’ll also be slowing down the creative process, which means you’ll be running an inefficient team that is wasting time and money that could be saved and reinvested in your efforts. As such, do keep on top of the tools that you should be providing to workers – and make sure that you’re doing all you can to research new technologies that might suit your team even better than their current tools.
Managers can inspire loyal followers in a number of ways. If you’re the head of a creative team in a larger company, you’ll know that it’s your head on the block if your team performs poorly and wastes money. You’ll also know that your team deserves all the recognition you get when the job’s been performed well for a number of weeks or months. The best way that you can truly show your workers that you can is by representing them to higher-ranked personnel – arguing their case and sharing their success with higher managers.
This spreads into pay disputes and other requests from your staff. You should fight their corner in senior staff meetings in order to win them a fair deal for all the hard work they’re doing. Come back to them with a bonus or a pay rise, and they’ll certainly feel more loyal and inspired to produce better work. It’s also worth taking a mentee or two under your wing, so that you’re developing the managers of the future, and you’re passing on the skills that you’ve picked up over the course of your career.
These tips are designed for any manager of a creative team. In this article, you’ll have learned the key things that you can change about your managerial approach in order to get the very best out of your team of creatives.