Seven Idiotic Rules for Managing Creative People

by Tom Kenny (@tkenny)

Moody, erratic, eccentric, and arrogant? Perhaps — but you can’t just get rid of them.

That’s the first line of this article. Not exactly a great start.

Let’s look at each point.

1. Spoil them and let them fail

I don’t think designers should be spoiled. Why should we be treated better than other workers in the same company? Marketing, accounting and other departments are just as important. We don’t need to feel like we’re being treated better than anyone else. The good part of this is the author is basically encouraging employers to let designers be bold and try new things, which I have nothing against.

2. Surround them by semi-boring people

… support your creatives with colleagues who are too conventional to challenge their ideas, but unconventional enough to collaborate with them.

What? This doesn’t make any sense at all. Collaboration with other designers can help create and develop ideas. Good designers don’t mind being challenged.

3. Only involve them in meaningful work

Shouldn’t all be meaningful work? If we ever feel like we aren’t doing meaningful work, then usually it’s a result of bad decision making from higher up. I’ve had to deal with some terrible decision making in the past. If you want designers to be happy, create meaningful work for them.

4. Don’t pressure them

Let them work remotely and outside normal hours; don’t ask where they are, what they are doing or how they do it. This is the secret to managing Don Draper, and why he never went to work for a bigger competitor.

I actually agree with the point of letting designers work remotely, although, basing this  on a fictional character is odd.

5. Pay them poorly

Of course! Designers want to be paid poorly. That’s how we create great designs. Sarcasm aside, this is absolutely ridiculous. A good designer shouldn’t be motivated by money but a good designer should also get rewarded for, well, being good. So, we should be spoiled and paid poorly?

Even though they aren’t as bad as the other points, I just can’t be bothered with the final two. I had to check the date on this post to see if it was an April fool’s joke but it was posted the day after. The author may not have tried to fool us but he is the one who is the fool.


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by Tom Kenny

I’m a freelance web designer and front-end developer with 9 years of experience designing for the web. Follow me on Twitter here.