Brian Beaver

Brian Beaver

Working in-house at Sony for the past 14 years, I've had the good fortune to collaborate with some remarkably talented professionals from around the world who have contributed to my view on what makes a great creative leader. Although innumerable traits come to mind, these are the five that keep me on track in my professional day-to-day.

  1. 1. Be a North Star. Every organization needs a "star to steer by". Whether it's getting clients and stakeholders onboard, or inspiring the team to tackle a tough challenge, the most important trait for a good creative leader is the ability to persuasively communicate a vision (regardless of whose) and get buy-in. With a clear vision, the team has the necessary context to care more deeply about the work and feel personally invested.
  2. 2. Provide clarity. Every project is layered with complexities and seemingly impossible challenges to solve. While you probably won't have all the answers, as a leader it's your job to supply the guiding principles for solving the problem, and to clearly define the outcomes so that unnecessary distractions are eliminated.
  3. 3. Be a champion for the team. Good creative leaders are deeply engaged in the work and driven when they see their team do incredible things. The best know how to capture this energy and use it to evangelize the team's work. If the enthusiasm is genuine, it'll spread and inspire others.
  4. 4. Be honest and considerate. Creative leaders know that their job is as much about editing as it is creating. Getting to a resonant design requires unflinching honesty about the work, without soft-pedaling or delaying critical feedback. But being honest isn't a license to be an asshole. Remember, creatives are people with feelings, so keep feedback rational, direct, and focused on the work, not the individual. Nurturing a safe, respectful environment keeps open lines of communication and fosters positivity and great ideas.
  5. 5. Be humble. As a leader, you set the tone for the entire team. Displaying acts of humility - taking feedback and admitting mistakes; empowering others; taking personal risks for the greater good; and holding employees responsible for results - makes your team feel more engaged in their work, fosters innovation, and creates a more fulfilling work experience.

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