Managing creative work (people)?

Many people think that managing creative work is different. After being exposed to creative agency work, I should know. It is not that different. Every company is different, but similar lessons apply. Read this piece from Lucy Kellaway, my favorite myth and jargon busting columnist.

FT.com / Columnists / Lucy Kellaway – No way to manage a bleating luvvie

The first big mistake is to think there is something called an artistic temperament that dreary suits need to tiptoe around. In fact creative people are born just like everyone else. If my brother-in-law and I are even remotely typical, three things motivate us. We need to make enough money to support our families. We need some recognition for what we do. And, ideally, we’d like to get a bit of satisfaction out of the work itself. It is all pretty basic.

One could argue that creatives are different as we are more insecure than, say, accountants but I don’t accept this. We simply articulate our insecurity more loudly – something that is made even easier if you have a newspaper column like this one.

The rot sets in when creatives start to be successful, and when their managers start telling them they are wonderful every two-and-a-half seconds. Praise is a mind-altering drug and needs to be prescribed in ever larger quantities to get the desired effect.

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