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Leadership is not easy, in any field. My many years as a creative leader in advertising, marketing, branding, and design has taught me a lot. I made mistakes and learned well from them. My passion for a creative career led me to guiding and directing others in their careers. But what became abundantly clear to me over the years was that you need to be human first, sounds obvious I know but many forget that we are just humans helping other humans. Leadership roles come with a lot of responsibility. It's not an easy job, but if you want the job then you have to accept everything else that comes along with it. All content © Rodd Chant 2019...but please feel free to download this and share it, put it on walls, email it to people. Cheers, Rodd

Published in: Career


  2. 2. Having risen up the unsteady creative ladder of leadership I am often asked for advice on what to do once you go from being one of the many in the creative department to the one sitting in the decision making chair. I've been an ECD three times and of course a CD before that so I have some advice I can share from my experiences, some learned the hard way. So without further ado here are my top pieces of advice on how to be a Creative Director without sucking at it. Rodd Chant @roddchant @chantcreative @nothinglikeacreativeschool � Rodd Chant 2019
  3. 3. Direct The Work, Don't Do The Work. It's no longer about your ideas now, it's about the ideas coming out of your staff. It's your job to guide them, help them, and direct them in a way that elevates the work without you injecting your own ideas. There will come times you will have to jump in and develop ideas but that is not your main job now. 1. � Rodd Chant 2019
  4. 4. 2. Make Sure The Briefs Are Good. Be a creative brief gatekeeper. You need to be all over the briefs, pull them apart, dissect them, and also ensure you can come up with some initial fast ideas yourself based on the information provided as a litmus test. Only when you are completely satisfied should you have your staff tackle them. � Rodd Chant 2019
  5. 5. 3. You're More Than A Creative Director. Yes, job number one is to be the creative leader but humans, no matter what job they do, are not one dimensional. You are now also a coach, a voice of reason, a manager, at times a bit of a counsellor, a career advisor, and an open set of ears to hear all grievances and complaints. If you're not willing to take on all those responsibilities please don't do the job. � Rodd Chant 2019
  6. 6. 4. You Will Make Bad Calls. You're not perfect, so yes you will screw up, it's the nature of the beast. You may approve a piece of work that fails badly, own it and never, and I mean NEVER, throw the creators of the work under a bus, you made the call, you approved it, use those series of bones running down your back and take ownership of the mistake - that's what separates leaders from wannabe leaders. � Rodd Chant 2019
  7. 7. 5. Lead By Example. Show your staff you're still one of them. Maybe there is too much work on, take on the least exciting project - even if it is a flyer that will sit on a counter at a supermarket. Show them you can still roll your sleeves up and help out. You're not above any project, nobody is. Lead the way. � Rodd Chant 2019
  8. 8. 6. Have Some Guts. No guts, no glory in the creative work. If you want the work and your agency to stand out you will at times need work that is truly different and that will, more often than not, require you to go to battle and champion those ideas that make your agency management and clients nervous. As the old saying goes - Fortune favors the brave. So, be brave. � Rodd Chant 2019
  9. 9. 7. Make Decisions. Don't 'umm' and 'ahh' and never flip-flop. Don't vacillate endlessly and keep asking for more and more ideas simply because you can't make a're in the big chair now...make the damn decisions. Do the job. You wanted the job, now do it. � Rodd Chant 2019
  10. 10. 8. Talk To Your Staff, Not At Them. Conversations work much better than barking orders. And also make sure you're listening to them, always listening. Remember, most dictators come to horrible ends. � Rodd Chant 2019
  11. 11. 9. Be Firm, But Fair. You wont get anywhere if you are a push over and can be walked over by your staff. You'll need to be tough at times, you'll need to make some tough calls, and yes you will have to fire people. Remember the position you have but never forget you're human, as are the people you are leading. � Rodd Chant 2019
  12. 12. 10. Don't Have Desk Jockeys. Give your staff some freedom to think anywhere they find inspiration. If you are worried that they are not working and just wasting time somewhere then that will be evident in the work they show you, as in they haven't done anything...if that's the case find staff who won't take advantage of the freedom. But in my experience this doesn't happen, true creative professionals will respect the trust and freedom. � Rodd Chant 2019
  13. 13. 11. Hire People More Talented Than You. Scared? Worried they could take your job? If you feel insecure about your own achievements and abilities then you're not cut out for this job. Always hire the best, it's your job to do that for the agency and the clients. � Rodd Chant 2019
  14. 14. 12. Credit Where Credit's Due. When someone comes up with a great idea make sure everyone knows about it, from the top of the agency down. It can be tough to come up with great ideas so when someone does they should be acknowledged for it. � Rodd Chant 2019
  15. 15. 13. Meetings, You'll Be In So Many Meetings. Now that you're in a management role you'll be in a lot of them. Do your best to minimize the amount of time you waste in them, you're better served being in the trenches with your creative staff than sitting in a boardroom listening to the finance director...yes, you need to understand what is going on with budgets and the like but make sure you are focussed on running the department. � Rodd Chant 2019
  16. 16. 14. Make Sure It's Fun For Everyone. The business is tough enough without having to work in a toxic and fear laden environment. It's your job to make sure that doesn't exist. Keep the politics away from your staff, ensure people are smiling even in the face of adversity, show everyone that you can have a good laugh...even if it is at your own expense. This is not rocket science nor is it brain surgery, chill a little. � Rodd Chant 2019
  17. 17. 15. Don't Be A Dick. You're not a rock star or a movie star, there are no teenagers out there with posters of you on their walls. There are no people chasing you down the street wanting your autograph. Remember this, always. @roddchant @chantcreative @nothinglikeacreativeschool � Rodd Chant 2019