Forget the Project: Why You Should Focus on Your Team and Not the ProjectPublished October 27, 2016
As a manager of creative teams, my day constantly revolves around giving and receiving feedback. For many of those I lead, having to listen to feedback is their own personal nightmare. It is daunting to walk into meeting after meeting knowing that often the immediate ripple effect of my presence is dread or anxiety. Until I had an epiphany….
Earlier this year, a new thought came to me: “What if I stopped creative directing projects—and creative directed people instead?” For me, this meant I would shift my feedback and focus from the outcome of the creative work itself—to the development of the person creating the work.
In short, the most important thing I can create is: better Creatives.
If I did this correctly, my hope is that when I walk into a room, the conversation would stop being about a judgment on what needed to change or improve about the product an individual had made. Instead, my entire focus would be on helping individuals get better themselves. And if they got better, their work would be better as well.
Henry Cloud writes in The Power of the Other that we want our brains to be thinking “about how to get better, not how to avoid being rejected, feeling like a failure, or getting yelled at.” Are you a leader who’s ripple effect triggers fears of getting yelled at in your employees, your co-workers, your spouse or your children? Or are you an inspiring force that leaves people no choice but to get better each and every time you are near?
Granted I haven’t perfectly executed this over the last six months, but in the moments when I have intentionally refocused my leadership from directing projects to directing people, it has completely changed the ripple effect of my leadership. The quality of my company’s work. And the culture of our office.
All because a leader (me) is getting better.