Q. My creatives don’t talk to me about their work – they don’t talk to each other. They just keep to themselves. What to do?
A.Well here’s the first thing: you are not alone. This goes with the turf in creative organizations. Your creative person’s whole reason for being is her/his ideas and creations. And let’s face it, the judgment they face on those creations is emotional and often whimsical. It’s really hard for them to open themselves to that judgment, especially from colleagues they respect. It’s up to you as a leader to protect and nurture them so they feel safe and their ideas are protected. But if you’re also working in the same creative sandbox, they won’t always feel comfortable opening up to you.
Here’s a tip: pick someone in your organization to act as a liaison and a cheerleader for your creative people. Pick someone who is not competing with them creatively and is ready to applaud failure as much as success. One thing is for sure: you can’t just mandate them into playing nicely together. It will work against you.