Leading Creative Employees


There are always some special people in teams who are very much techie, creative and loaded with specific knowledge.  Lets call these employees creative people in this post.

These creative people provide tremendous value to organization through application of their knowledge and expertise.  These really smart and creative people need nurturing environment and motivation. When leading these creative people, keep in mind that they may

  1. think they know more than anyone (or know everything);
  2. do not want to be led (know what, how and why);
  3. do not want to follow the process (think its bureaucracy);
  4. want to discuss the solution with higher authority (by-pass chain of command);
  5. expect people to come and ask for help (until then they keep quiet);
  6. show their exceptional knowledge in group meetings;
  7. become poor listeners and jump to solution (feel they know problem already);
  8. dislike to say thank you for any assistance;
  9. feel attached to the solution they offered (won’t accept alternate);
  10. stop contributing if ignored;
  11. want praise and recognition (not always care about position);
  12. want challenges and new things to work on.

Leading creative people require smart leadership.  Smart leaders will help these creative employee contribute by creating environment where they feel valuable while making sure that other employees also flourish. 

Smart leaders demonstrate their expertise and authority over creative employees quietly by not pushing them or by not showing them who is the boss.  Smart leader also makes sure that they know what organization’s strategic goals and objectives are; but does not dictate how to achieve.  These creative people can contribute beyond expectations when their leader becomes their coach-cum-mentor-cum-guardian.

Not all the points may apply in any given situation and there might be other examples as well.  I am interested to hear your thoughts on this.  Please leave comments.  Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

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3 Responses to Leading Creative Employees

  1. himanshu says:

    Hi Virk,
    Nice post..down the memory lane I remember that one of my PM called me called me a techie yet a creative guy…:)
    And I agree with u by saying that you can’t actually push these creative souls to do work..when i started my career I was always looking for point # 11…
    Can I copy this post as it is on my blog…?
    Best regards,
    Himanshu

  2. virk says:

    Sure. Appreciate your input.

  3. Dalvir Pannu says:

    Thanks for giving me that term i was looking for- creative employees. I always felt that there are few exceptional team players that always bring innovative ideas to the company. In my business that can be assistants, hygenist, associate dentist, receptionist, can be just any of these employee categories. And actually some of those regular emplyees ideas can be more creative than specific managers hired as project managers. But it’s so true that they need to be dealt in a special manner.
    I highly appreciate the information for dealing these creative employees from your blog. I especially liked the points 7 and 9, very interesting!

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