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Reducing Tension Between Creatives and Managers

Reducing Tension Between Creatives and Managers

Todd Henry | Accidental Creative

Many of the e-mails and questions we get at Accidental Creative revolve around one question. Actually, it’s one question asked from two different perspectives:

How can I get them to understand me?

The them in the question is either “my manager” or “my creative team” depending on who is asking the question. There is a lot of time spent lobbing shots across the organizational bow, from both sides, but there is often a significant dearth of real communication.

So with that in mind, I want to share a simple way to eliminate 90% of this organizational tension. It begins by understanding the values and concerns of the other party. While this is a bit of an over-simplification, please understand that there’s no formula for this. We’re simply trying to improve communication, which will in turn improve our collective work. Cool?

What all managers want to know: Will you do what I ask?

Most managers simply want to know that – in the end – creatives will do what they ask. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they want their way all the time, it simply means that they want to know that, when push comes to shove, it’s understood who’s ultimately in charge. But often there is such heated debate (over even the most inconsequential topics!) that the manager starts to feel like the organization is in misalignment. This feels like a threat to the manager, which leads to escalation of the conflict or passive-aggressive behavior.

Next: I’d like to show you why I think this direction is best. →


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