Leaders and Creatives

As a little girl I dreamed of being a superstar.  In my world of make-believe, nightgowns became evening dresses and hairbrushes became microphones.  If a performer was on television – such as my all-time favorite entertainer, Carol Burnett – I could be found decked out in my superstar attire ready to mimic every movement, every word spoken and every note sung.

Unfortunately my talent didn’t keep pace with my drive but I quickly discovered the next best thing.  While I didn’t have the chops to be a performer, I did have the business savvy and marketing instincts to be part of the team that supports them.  That discovery led me to a nine-year career as an artist development manager for some of the top Christian recording artists of that era.

With those years as the foundation for my leadership development, working with creatives was the only type of leadership I knew.  And perhaps because there is still a bit of that little girl superstar somewhere in my heart, I’ve developed a deep love for working with creative types.  I love their passion and perspective.  I love their unwillingness to settle for the status quo.

This week I’ve had the privilege to hang out with the artists, geeks (self-proclaimed) and storytellers that form the tribe of the Echo Conference.  I was privilege to share my thoughts about the importance of leaders and creatives working together.

Too many times we allow misunderstandings and assumptions to create unfortunate divides between our very different personalities and styles.  I believe that divide is a grave disservice to our ministries.  We need each other!

Here are the 4 foundations that I believe are essential to building healthy relationships between leaders and creatives in any culture.

1) Mutual Respect – Any relationship will go sideways in a hurry if it isn’t built on a foundation of respect.  Respect is about being committed to acknowledging and appreciating the unique ways that each of us are gifted.

2) Seek to Understand – Once you’ve learned to respect one another’s unique and different gifts, you have to dedicate the time and energy to truly understand one another’s perspective and priorities.

3) Consistent Communication – Because leaders and creatives will often view things from a different perspective, it will require an extra does of communication to maintain healthy working relationships.

4) No Gaps – Because of the stereotypes of each of these roles, there is a tendency to make assumptions about one another.  “No gaps” is another way to say “no assumptions”.  Don’t leave a gap in understanding that could be filled in with poor assumptions.

Whether you’re a leader or a creative, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Who do I need to have more respect for?

Whose role do  I need to understand better?

Who do I need to improve communication with?

Who have I been making assumptions about?