Week 12 - Creative Leadership
Being a leader in the creative industry may be particularly difficult since principles of boosting productivity may not apply when compared to other business. In the lecture, motivation others and being self confident are ranked to be the two most important traits of a good leader (SAE, 2015). However, judging from my personal experience, I have a disagreeing opinion. Although I would not consider myself a good leader based on both the lecture’s standard and my own standard, overall the course of my creative life I have the pleasure to work with some good leaders. When the lecture material quotes Martin Luther King, Ghandi and Nelson Mandela, etc. as being successful leaders, there is little room for disagreement judging by their success. However, I do not think their traits can be fully applicable to creative leaders.
In my opinion, communication and coordination is the key of being a successful creative leader. Understanding the needs of your fellow teammates, knowing their scope of work, and facilitate communication among them would be more important their motivation and confidence for the creative industry. This is because creative work cannot be as simply streamlined and distributed like a factory or a normal business. Collaboration is often required and it could be hard to maintain an overall consistency over the whole team when every member is contributing their creativity. Also, when I review myself and my peers as creative workers, we are usually self-motivated and driven because we truly love what we are doing. When everyone in the team is self-motivated, coordination and communication maybe more important. Confidence is also less important to me as a team leader because a team leader is supposed to be working with a team, not with herself.
While motivation and confidence are still crucial, but not as much when a creative project often lack a clear goal. The successful animation movie director Miyazaki Hayao describes the work progress of their animation studio as such in an interview, saying "We never know where the story will go but we just keep working on the film as it develops.” (Mes, 2002). Besides a goal, there are also no clear parameters to measure the level of success before the project is finished and a development plan is often not present at the start. As a movie, the only measurable success parameter is the sales in box office, other influences are often intangible. The same goes to creative project which they are more chaotic in nature. Looking back on Miyazaki, his colleagues respect him because of his professionalism and the fact that he would oversee every single frame of his films (Calvario, 2017). This echoes my opinion of communication and coordination being the key of a successful creative leader.
Reflecting on myself, I definitely have a lot of room of improvement until I become a good creative leader. To me, it is particularly difficult to balance my own opinion and that of different individuals, and not to even mention balancing the opinions among the whole team. Creative content creators that I look up to often have a strong character and are reported as stubborn at times. I think improving as a listener and make sure I understand what every individual is doing is what I would need to start improving as a leader as this would be very helpful for me along my study in SAE.
Calvario, L. (2017). Studio Ghibli: The Techniques & Unimaginable Work That Goes Into Each Animation Revealed. IndieWire. Retrieved 11 December 2017, from http://www.indiewire.com/2016/08/studio-ghibli-techniques-work-creating-animated-film-1201712756/
Mes, T. (2002). Midnight Eye interview: Hayao Miyazaki. Midnighteye.com. Retrieved 11 December 2017, from http://www.midnighteye.com/interviews/hayao-miyazaki/
SAE (2015). Week 12: Creative Leadership – Self-Directed Practitioners – Medium. (2015). Medium. Retrieved 11 December 2017, from https://medium.com/self-directed-practitioners/week-13-creative-leadership-14fa51a341b0