Everyone can be creative. But to be truly creative, you’d have to identify yourself as a creative and find pleasure in creative work. Thus, there are people who are considered “more creative” than others.
Unfortunately for the creative people, not all companies know how to deal with them. This is where conflicts arise. Managers may feel that a creative person has become a disruption in the team because he is “different”, not realizing that this very “limitation” can be used for the benefit of the company. Or their positive qualities may be overlooked in favor of their “oddities.” For instance, Jeff Stibel points out in HBR Network that there are what we call “internal entrepreneurs” who refuse to accept conventional wisdom and often question, “Why are we doing it this way?” Managers who don’t understand the way these people think may often misunderstand this questioning attitude as insubordination, not realizing that there is huge potential for new ideas to be birthed within a more curious mindframe. Research also shows that creative people are more motivated by intrinsic factors (qualities that are inherent to the job like challenge and flexibility) rather than external factors. A creative person’s motivation is the pleasure he finds in his creative work. Marketing guru Seth Godin is a classic example; he has even been known to avoid making money from his work.
Being creative is much more than just acquiring the attitude of a tortured artist; it’s a mindset and lifestyle. While it’s hard to motivate anyone who has absolutely no desire to do a job, there are ways management can find ways to avoid demotivating them. Here are some demotivators for creative people:
Being under constant surveillance
One way to stifle creativity is to constantly breathe down on your employees’ necks. Creative people thrive in a more relaxed and open environment. Instead of forcing them to follow rigid rules, try to be as flexible as you can. You’d be surprised how much more they’ll want to achieve once you get rid of the red tape. The thing is, most creative are already high performers. They don’t need a guard to ensure that they’re working. They only need the right atmosphere to keep the creative juices flowing.
Creative people need to focus. Never interrupt them while they’re working on a task, unless the interruption is really important and urgent. Help them manage tasks better by pre-scheduling meetings in “batches” rather than making them sporadic and random. You can also get a cloud PBX and other productivity tools for your office, so they can screen calls better and minimize distractions.
The creative mind needs to be stimulated. You can’t expect them to be passionate about tasks that are better left to a machine. As mentioned, they’re motivated more by intrinsic factors, so let them think and brainstorm. Inspire them; don’t spoonfeed them.
Isolating them from other creatives
Allow creative people to work with other creative people. Give them the time to brainstorm with colleagues and the resources to put their ideas into action.
Do you have creative employees? How do you manage them better? Sound off in the comments.