When taking on the role of Creative Director two months ago, I had little idea of how busy my new Edu-Marketing Content Creation team was. Heads down and plugged into their work for eight hours straight was great for churning through the workload, but meant morale had taken a beating during one of our busiest periods. The team were so busy creating client marketing content that their tea and coffee intake had sky-rocketed in just a few weeks. It’s now well-known among staff that our Designers and Copywriters drink almost double that of any other team here at Sprint.
I racked my brain. My new role meant I was responsible for not only the output and efficiency of the team, but I now had a moral obligation to ensure each individual felt good about working here.
In a bid to alleviate some of the strain, I found myself jumping in on jobs from home in the evenings and at weekends – but playing catch-up was a short-term fix; I needed something more permanent.
After researching ways of tackling these issues, a motivational speaker called Simon Sinek helped me imagine a plan of action to help the team.
A five step plan to a happier and more efficient Edu-Marketing Content Team (without exceeding eight brews a day):
1. Meet Ups
Meet regularly with team members to understand what projects they have on, or if they have any concerns. This will ensure any problems are tackled fast and collaboratively. A problem shared really is a problem halved.
Ask team members where they would like to be in 1, 3, and 5 years. Then understand what you need to do to help them reach their goals. Create realistic and helpful targets together and check back in with them regularly to discuss progress.
3. Understand Where the Gaps Are
Provide individual gap and whole team training to build knowledge and confidence. If you don’t have the capacity or the knowledge to fill these gaps, find online and external courses that can help your team. It’s important that each member knows that their path to progression is important and this will help them know what they do is valuable. Once training is complete, create a fun (but useful) task that will help team members put what they have learnt into practice. Learning new skills will speed up and streamline processes, alleviate unnecessary stresses, and make the workload lighter.
4. Celebrate Wins and Tackle Losses Together
In any work environment it is important to keep morale and motivation high. Include staff in any feedback that comes your way (good or bad), and work together to move things forward in a positive and constructive way.
5. Be an equal
Leave the ego behind - nobody likes a big head. I’ve learnt from the team that if you want to harvest a dynamic atmosphere, it’s important to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in to the daily work your team does. Prepare to have your work scrutinised by them too – your position doesn’t mean you know everything; learn from your team and share knowledge so you can progress together.
Now I by no means think I am a pro at leading a creative team (far from it). I’m still learning masses from management and my fellow creatives daily, and the caffeine intake is still high, but if I can leave any sort of mark on this new role I have, I just hope it’s not a tea stain.
Marketing to Schools