We're all part of a team, whether its a family unit or an office space. When it comes to creativity, our networks are really important for getting the most out of your ideas. By sharing the load and putting trust in willing people, our ideas can grow on the back of many other ideas that compliment them. A network of connective shared responsibility gives rise to extremely strong foundations. How can we make the most out of our teams and networks though? It's not a matter of giving instructions, no-one made you the regent, we have to lead with equality, empathy, and care.
Don't Get In The Way
There's a big difference between leading and telling. When you tell a person you're taking their time and space, their focus is on you. You're in their way. Also, when we feel watched it can be quite disconcerting. When someone is watching our efforts over our shoulder we tend to feel caged in. Micromanaging everyone and their time will only result in problems with very little innovation. People in your network will stop wanting to put energy into your ideas and prefer to work on their own.
Get To Know People Properly
The people that come into your circle and show an interest in your direction and journey are not just tools for your progress. These people are your friends, colleagues, and competitors. It's important to realise that everyone is the most concerned with their own agenda. We have to understand and appreciate the desires, needs, and comforts of the people who are around us. Get to know them, bond with them, create proper working relationships. What about the competitors though? You might want to ask. You are not superhuman and cannot possibly serve the world all by yourself. If you understand what else is on offer it can help you make choices about providing something people will still want. Working together like proper adults always gets a better result.
Get Everyone On The Same Page
The communication has to be consistent, so that everyone in your circle knows exactly what you want from them and what they can expect from you. The general message has to be the same across the whole table, with personalised tools of understanding used only when in face to face interactions. We all have to be pointing in the same direction, like running a magnet across a piece of iron, we can get the atoms to all face the same way making it magnetic itself.
You're Not The Star You're A Planet
The star is the betterment and contentment of humanity, we orbit that star because we choose to. If you want to liken yourself to an astral body then the planets and moons make more sense. It's true that sociology talks about orbits and areas of influence like gravity and light, so the metaphor does work. We take our journey into creativity and innovation because our minds take to it like a monkey to a tree. We can't expect other people to orbit us unless we pay them, so be aware that it is the same goal that drives our networks to stick together, not you.
Listen with your mind open and your internal dialogue silent when people are talking to you. Then think and respond without judgement. Make amends when necessary and point out mistakes when they're so far unseen. We all make them, my typo average is around 5 per 1000 words. If I forget to check, I pay the price. Make sure everyone feels safe to talk about mistakes, failures, changed minds, and opposing views. Everything has to feel safe to talk about.
Your Team Is An Individual
We get to know people personally quite naturally but our team is an organism on its own. It has its own strengths and weaknesses, it has its limitations. Our team will have a distinctive personality that it quite separate to those of the people in it. People find cosy niches of being when on their own but when working for something they can completely change, finding it more comfortable to behave differently when in a professional or high-input setting. We have to be able to recognise our team as a working body that behaves in its own way.
Work Harder Than You'd Ask Others To
It's your big idea, your direction, and your progress that you are most concerned about. This means that you have to do the work. The people around you can prop you up, lend a hand, tie things together with their own project thus lifting both, maybe even volunteer for you, but it's you that has to do the lion's work. If you are serious about getting other people as equally enthusiastic and passionate as you about your idea, you have to pay them.
So many artists do their thing in silent hope that they'll be noticed and given a job of their dreams. They post to social media, they give everything great titles, and then they wait. Waiting for who exactly, they're not sure. Someone to see what they have and who can turn it into a magical life. Perhaps they visualise this future, imagine what it's like, and even though they're not there yet, they do as much of what the now will permit.
The fairy-tale is over. It's this for the rest of your life. You could try submitting your work to an agency, perhaps find someone who sees profit in you and allow them to make it. Or you could see the profit in you for yourself and become your own manager, your own agent, your own super-fan. If you can learn to represent yourself not only in your own little space but in the global metaphorical high-street then why pay someone to do it for you?
So what do you need to do in order to be a 'good manager'? You already have discipline, that's established. You have a hunger to learn, or you'd not be here reading this post. So what's missing? Let's look at some points.
Stop being competitive and selfish
Everyone on Earth just wants to have a nice day. Granted, for some that means the opposite of what is deemed suitable but let's go with the good today. We all just want to get along, do our work, and have a nice day. We don't want confrontation or threats, we don't want anything bad to happen to us. We see huge companies and political parties publishing damning headlines about each other, however this doesn't correlate to small business and creative entrepreneurs. People are behind the independent media and arts and they have feelings too.
If you can pay for a service that you need, then do that. You've not 'lost' because you paid them and no-one paid you, it's not a game of tennis. No-one is keeping count, think about why you sell less products or services, why are you not making the sale? Maybe you've not paid for the right service, the right training, the right advertising space.
Say What You Mean And Do What You Say
People will take you seriously. They will listen to your words and sense your emotions then make a judgement. So always remain calm and speak after thinking things through. If you find that you say the wrong thing or you have sound-bytes of intolerance running through your head then you need to be able to iron these out. If not, you risk upsetting, offending, and making people angry. Your sense of humour too is something that people can either love or hate. If you upset people or offend people or make people think you're never serious, they won't see you as an authority they can trust.
Keep your word, if you say you're a nice person then act like one. If you say you're liberal then act like one. If you are conservative, then don't pretend to be liberal! It's really important for people to be able to make accurate guesses and judgements about us based on our image, If their heuristic thinking methods don't work with you then they will not want to work with you at all.
Individual People Still Matter
So you represent something bigger than you, perhaps you created it. Maybe you are solely responsible for the bettering of humanity. You're still just a person with flesh and strains. Each person you encounter, no matter how meek or massive, they are the same size as you. Once this can be ingrained in your ability to appropriately respond, you will get much further with your agenda when dealing with these people. They are all potential customers, potential friends, and potential colleagues.
Create The Best Experience Of You And Your Work
You're a great artist, whether it's music, painting, drawing, writing, performance, or anything else, your skills need the best presentation. When people interact with your work, they need to feel overpowered by quality. Find out how to do every job for yourself or pay people what you can afford to have them do it for you. We're not all polymaths but we're generally all really good at one or two things. Once your product or service experience is amazing, people will want to pay for it all the more.
Be Brave Not Insane
If you're like me then it takes real courage to talk to people. Put a friendly request in the agenda and it's almost impossible. You don't want to disturb people, you don't want to be in the way. You don't want to be the reason someone has a bad day. Perhaps you don't want to have a bad day and you're worried they'll make you have one. I've been in all these shoes and I know how important it is to be able to respond to people as often as you can. When it comes to delivering your message, perhaps advertising is more relevant for you. Pay for the service. Other than that, be brave. Do your thing and put the blinkers on while you do it. Just don't forget to take them off again after.
When it comes to how you respond, remember you're an authority of your work. You're in charge and you're not responsible for other people's personal opinions and feelings. What you are responsible for is how you portray your service and your personality in public. The revenue report will determine if people like you and what you have to offer. If you can respond to people in a calm and considered way, take people seriously when they have an issue and take the rules seriously when people break them, then everyone knows where they stand.
If you have a skill that you're using to make a living then people are going to resent the fact that they do not. This can't be helped, and some employers make work life almost unbearable. It's not your fault they're miserable at work or they have more to do than you, you made your choices and they made theirs with what was available. This doesn't mean you can be nasty or rude. People will say things that undermine you sometimes, they'll say things that make you feel undervalued and unrecognised. It's this subconscious resentment and envy that manifests. Often people don't mean to be upsetting, and if they are it's because they're hurting. Remember to be kind and not cruel.
This Is Forever
It's never been a rat-race and there was no starting gun. It's just this, forever. Do your best and make as much positive impact as you can. Always stay hungry for improvement, and never think you're high and dry. Rules change, technology changes, trends change. People change too, and that means you. Nothing lasts for a moment longer than it is permitted to.
Love free education? Want more of it? You can show your support! Thank you so much to everyone who does.