Creative leaders, no doubt, lead differently.
They’re the change makers, idea champions and people inspirers of the world. But the fact is that they still need to find ways to manage the day-to-day tasks of running a business. This might seem contrary to the standard advice, “Stay in your genius zone!”
Yet creative leaders often forget to put enough time and energy into developing a system for daily task management that works. Many immediately become overwhelmed when thinking about systemizing their business. They’d rather spend their time and energy dreaming up the next big idea.
With a little help, creative leaders can take steps to help guarantee that their businesses will thrive and their ideas make an impact. Here are three smart ways for creative leaders to strike a balance between the long-term and day-to-day aspects of their business:
1. Allocate time for administrative tasks.
Creative leaders often feel bogged down by routine administrative tasks, such as going through their email inbox, updating the employee handbook and handling paperwork. But when neglected, these responsibilities pile up and become extremely difficult to handle.
To avoid hectic pileups, creative leaders should become creative about how they schedule time for administrative work each day. Tumblr founder David Karp manages well the monotonous task of checking his email. He saves dealing with email until he arrives at work and allots 30 minutes at the start of each workday to tackle his inbox before moving on to bigger projects.
You could try this and add a block of time at lunch or the end of the day to suit your schedule. For other big-ticket administrative tasks that are energy draining, deploy the simple trick of scheduling these tasks as calendar items and then your showing up to do them could save you months, if not years, of pain.
2. Follow through with setting standards and getting support.
Creative-minded leaders are able to shape and influence wonderful company cultures through their vision and energy. But it’s equally important that these leaders follow through with developing a company game plan, setting standards and aligning discrete actions with the plan. Delegation is key. Creative leaders must be able to let go and delegate aligned tasks to their teams.
For example, if a creative CEO is fine with employees' working from home or wants everyone to be in the office by a certain time each day, the expectation must be set and the rule adhered to. Failure to follow up means a slippery slope downward for all involved.
Hiring a right-hand person to assist with this process is helpful. This person should be more than an assistant and could be a chief operating officer or partner. But it’s critical to have someone trustworthy and capable of leading the administrative side of things.
Your relationship with this right-hand person should be based on your internal working process and what is effective for you. For example, one of my mentors who’s a creative leader likes to go on a morning jog with her key adminstrative leader and just start talking. The staff person is recording the session and can help her implement the plan from there.
3. Know how to spell P&L.
Even though creative leaders might not be the ones accomplishing daily reconciliation of the books, they must take their companies seriously enough to set up regular weekly meetings about the organization's financial state. With a sound financial understanding, creative leaders will feel freer, make more powerful decisions and be much more confident.
Creative leaders are a special breed. They’re focused on the ideas that drive businesses and motivate teams. When they take a little extra time and effort to focus on the best way to tackle daily tasks, their companies can become unstoppable.