Every team has people with different gifts. Successful organizations deal with growth and lots of growth will lead to the need to protect and survive. In the beginning the creatives are often the ones who create the chore values and trail blaze for the organization. And with success comes a model and a model develops systems and systems requires management. Creatives long for the chore values and managers long for the system.
Is either bad? Nope. Creatives with free reign would struggle to have consistency. Managers with free reign would keep an organization from changing with the times. Every organization balances the dance between these opposite gifts and obviously we haven't touched on every gift set inside an organization. But these two gifts will often feel at war with one another because of single feeling: loss of control.
In the past as a creative I have felt over managed, everything had to be done the "safe" way. Working in the non-profit realm, the only permission I had to rebel was asking people for even more money. But looking at a number and adding a zero wasn't fulfilling my creative need. Can you relate to these feelings? These are five things I did to remain creative in a manager run world you can do as well.
1. Commit to your creative voice - You may have to sit in front of the mirror, look into your own eyes, and say, "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh darn it...I like you creativity." I've been there. I've been to the place where it feels like you don't fit or make sense. You begin to regret the way you're wired and question your ability. Press back against the feelings and commit to being a creative. Commit to creating something every day. Even if it's just writing down a thought or having a conversation with another creative, be creative every day. If you don't feel like you have the space or know how to build it, click here and put The Factory to work!
2. Have a creative platform - Every creative needs a home. For you this might be a blog, or an Instagram account, or an Etsy shop, or create and short visual stories through the Stellar app (Shout out to Jonathan Gorny, or @Jonathon_Gorny, for the discovery of the Stellar app). Yes, you will have to put in the time to make this happen because no one will do this for you.* Start something where you have an outlet if your work environment doesn't fully utilize your creative nature.
3. Travel often - You're like, "What?" But yes, the more you travel the more you will be taken out of the box of your daily work life. Travel is helpful to the creative soul because we experience new things and see new things. Travel smacks our worldview upside the head, which is good for the creative who needs to think outside the box.
4. Connect with other creatives - Networking has always been available to us through our job description and title, conferences, or work relationships but now our ability to connect is unlimited. Social media, blogging communities, and shared Pinterest boards are just a few mediums we now have to extend our reach to other creatives. The more we look outside of our organizations borders for connection the healthier we will be as an organization. To assume we have all the answers will actually keep us from finding solutions sooner and this could jeopardize the life of our organization or team.
5. Continue to learn - I do this through blog subscriptions, books, Pinterest, Twitter, and podcasts. Continuing to learn pushes me to keep being creative, it's like putting gas on the fire. I don't want my creative flame to burn out, which it may in a suffocating management environment. Instead, I want it to burn brighter and brighter so when the pendulum swings back from a season of high reliance on management to a high reliance of creativity I can be of service.
As I said before an organization or team needs people with many different gifts, this is the life blood of a strong team. But it's important to keep utilizing your gifts in seasons your gift might not be called upon so when it is time for these gifts you are ready. And you might never be called upon in your current organization but through connections another organization might call upon you. The end goal is to serve and sharpening your creative bent prepares you to serve this way.
What have you found to be most helpful to remaining creative in a manager run world? What advice would you give to a new leader who has a creative bent? Please add to the conversation by leaving a comment below!