How to Manage a Team of Creatives

Jan 7 2016

The creative leader often needs to manage and navigate a myriad of complexities amongst people’s giftings, dreams, insecurities, preferred methods, subjective ideas, innovative brainstorms, etc, while somehow balancing getting the job delivered on time, everyone staying motivated and on board (even if their ideas or contributions don’t get used every time), and taking creative steps forward.

I have the honour and privilege of working closely with our Global Creative Pastor Cass Langton, who leads our Creative teams across Australia and our various global campuses. She is one of the most creative and wise leaders I’ve ever met.

(First things first — I’d really encourage you to read Cass’ own thoughts on this subject, and what she’s learned from leading our Creative team!)

Once you’ve read that, below are a few lessons that I’ve personally learned from working with her and watching her lead our team! Some of these have transformed my own leadership style, and I hope you find them as helpful as I have.


Allow people to dream and share their ideas.

Allowing for expression of people’s ideas enables a sense of confidence and belonging. Brainstorming and dreaming are a vital part of moving forward creatively. Without it, we often revert to old methods and routines, and ideas become stale and stagnant.


Collaboration produces much better results.

2 are better than 1, 3 are better than 2, etc. Collaboration and sharing of ideas produce much better results than working alone. There is team synergy and unity in working together, as well as idea development and strengthening of the overall outcome/project when everyone’s strengths are brought to it.


Care about people’s lives; not just their work.

Sometimes it’s OK to not ‘talk shop’ all the time. Loving and caring about your team as a leader is one of the best things you can do for them. People flourish when they know they are loved and valued.

SEE ALSO: 4 Ways to Care for Your Worship Team

4. ASK

Ask questions and seek to understand people’s point of view, even if you need to choose an alternate decision in the end.

Dig for more understanding, even if it’s just trying to better understand your team.  It will not only make you a better leader, but will enable you to make wiser decisions, find solutions, experience creative breakthroughs, etc… Often the initial problem or suggestion is just the surface, and wise leaders ask the right questions that often lead to the actual issue that lies underneath the surface. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and understand where your team are coming from. They will appreciate your effort — and even if their ideas aren’t used in the end, if you understand them you can help communicate why the ideas weren’t used, and eventually help bring them to a place of greater contribution.


There is always a solution, even if you can’t see it initially.

Your team might often bring problems to you, but the quicker you can help them discover that there are actually solutions to every problem, the more you can move forward together, and the less problems will be presented without solutions to go with them ☺. The solutions may be different to what you like, or outside your traditional realm of thinking, but there is ALWAYS a solution.


It’s OK to not have all the answers.

Often your teams will know info/answers/ways of doing things that you don’t. Sometimes being a great creative leader means not trying to have all the answers yourself, but working with your team and including them in the collective answer. When you don’t pretend to know it all, and actually include your team in the creative process and invite their expertise, you end up with a motivated team who know they can contribute, and love working with you.


Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses.

Know the people on your team. Know how they tick. Know what they love. Know what they hate. Know what they are good at. Know what pushes their buttons. The better you know your team, the more you are able to match their strengths and giftings appropriately with roles and areas of contribution. It’s our responsibility as leaders to put people in areas where they will flourish. The better you know your people, the more you can place them in the correct environments for growth.


Believe in your people.

Be their biggest fans. Celebrate their wins. Encourage them. Tell them what you see in them. Tell them they belong. Look for opportunities for them to succeed. Take every chance you can to champion them further than yourself. People know when they are believed in. Everyone makes mistakes along the way, but if people know you believe in them, over the long haul they will grow and create from a place of security and often exceed your expectation of them simply because you made a choice to believe in them.

SEE ALSO: 8 Ways to Bring the Gold Out in People


Be thinking ahead and casting vision for creative growth.

Creativity continues where the ceiling continues to rise. Be the person that is always seeing further than your team. Be seeing where things need to go, how things can grow, and what is next. Communicate to your team that there is more for them to achieve and contribute. Creatives love knowing they aren’t boxed into one thing.


Serve your teams and lead with humility.

You’ll never go wrong by serving your team. Sometimes serving the people you lead looks like strong leadership and bringing wise counsel, other times it might be listening and caring for them in a personal crisis, or seeking to understand their frustration and leading them through seasons of change. Wise creative leaders are the ones who know their teams and adapt their leadership style to serve them.


Keep it all about Jesus.

Ultimately, anything in life that we put our hand to is for Jesus. Any effort, creative idea, or initiative is ultimately for His glory. He created us. Every ounce of gifting, talent, or creative genius that we take credit for is ultimately His anyway. If every endeavour, idea, suggestion, drawing, painting, song, or musical arrangement is held with the perspective of serving our Creator, you’ll find a grace and an ability to lead with humility. Throughout every season you find yourself in (both challenging and successful), remember that it is actually never about us, but always about Him.

Much love //



P.s. We’re very excited to share more at our Worship School events in 2016. Hope to see you there!