How to Support Junior Creatives with the Skills They Need to Grow
Internally, Kitty explains that it is instilled in team members to make themselves a resource for brain picking. A “massive sense of responsibility” is also acknowledged across directors and producers in “making sure that people are experiencing professional development while achieving your vision”. Overall describing their approach to training as “something that we take very seriously, but also quite informally,” formal reviews are a must to balance friendships and professional development at work. “It can feel a bit weird because you’ve got such a good bond,” Kitty points out, “but I think it’s really important because it’s sometimes the only time to raise concerns.” In fact, a close relationship with a manager “can sometimes be your undoing,” she continues, explaining that it can raise anxieties around stating specific needs, say if a team member feels they’re being blocked from an opportunity. Formal reviews therefore offer a chance for discussion and, in Kitty’s advice, it’s best to encourage this from both sides. “It’s really important, as a senior, to encourage your direct team members to give you critical feedback as much as possible, and give them space to disagree. Otherwise, it becomes a sort of dictatorship – albeit accidentally.” Recognising that as a manager you can learn as much from your direct report as they learn from you is key to enabling growth on a company-wide scale. “I’ve never hired someone because I want them to be me,” says James from Pinterest. “But I am thrilled about what I’m going to learn from them, and how their thinking will surprise.” Confirming that one of the biggest design lessons that any creative, at any stage of their career, can learn is to “take your assumptions and ego out of the room and listen,” he says. Across at Lovers, an employee’s training is assessed on a case-by-case basis, with Alex describing his team as “on a bit of an individual journey,” working towards “their own thing that they want to get better at”. He continues: “It’s my job to listen and notice that, and talk about it with individuals. To figure out what things are maybe good for them to be exposed to or connect to. We kind of play it like that.” Within this, Alex is also the first to admit that he’s “got lots of bettering to do,” but will continue to adopt a “general philosophy of letting people be who they are and become who they’re meant to be, not keep them trapped in a sort of role,” he says. Whether it’s specific skills training an employee is after, a bit of space to grow into something else creatively, or nothing at all, “it’s important to help people remember that they can grow into anything that they feel they can,” concludes Alex. And if you – as a manager, a creative yourself, or a business owner – know that and consciously provide room for growth within your workplace: “I think that makes going to work a bit better.” » Read More
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