Lead With Empathy to Avoid Creative Burnout on Your Team

Kaila Mathis

Workplace burnout is caused by excessive exhaustion and stress relating to one's job, and can lead to decreased motivation, productivity and energy. For creative teams, burnout is especially damaging. Creators thrive on passion, energy and inspiration for the work they do day in and day out, and yet many find themselves asked to crank out endless content within unrealistic deadlines, for minimal reward.

Retaining and growing a successful creative team means tailoring your management style to their needs. Not only will this protect their mental health, it'll likely increase the quality of content you receive and ultimately lead to higher levels of success across the board.

Set realistic timelines.

When trying to meet the needs of clients, internal projects, outbound campaigns and more, it can be tempting to set quick deadlines for creators on your team. But doing so leads to decreased time to foster creativity, late hours (and therefore a lack of sleep), and increased stress levels. Bottom line, workers are unhappy and exhausted, and their deliverables are lower quality. It can be daunting to tell clients and management you need more time, but in the end, they'll receive a better product and your team's success will gain longevity.

Give your team members their flowers.

Often, maintaining a healthy work environment comes down to crediting talent for what they're due. The only way to encourage team members to succeed in their position is to let them know when they've done so. Make it a routine to shout out creators' wins in Slack channels and team calls. Then, incentivize them with rewards tailored to their interests - whether that's dinner at their favorite restaurant, tickets to a sports game or an afternoon off to relax.

Pay creators what they've earned.

Paying employees above-average salaries is proven to lead to higher employee retention, increased productivity and heightened focus throughout the workday. If creators are paid adequately, they don't feel pressured to work extra projects on the side, and are more likely to dedicate their time and attention to remaining at a job they want to keep.

Schedule regular check-ins.

Checking in on members of your team regularly is a crucial step in making sure they're happy in their position, receiving the support they need and working on projects that will accelerate their personal career goals. This is your chance to build a deeper relationship with your team, understand their goals, and tap into interests you may not have known they have. You'll likely be surprised by what your team is both capable of and passionate about.

Lead with empathy.

Leading with empathy allows you to understand pain points of your team members, avoid tasking them with workloads you wouldn't take on yourself and tailor their career growth to their goals. Taking the time to understand how your employees' minds operate makes it easier to manage them according to their learning style and within their most productive hours. Plus, practicing empathy has been proven to lead to collaborative, long-lasting work relationships, and increases the likelihood that your employees will genuinely enjoy their work.

Kaila Mathis
Kaila graduated from Villanova University in 2021 with a B.A. in PR & Advertising and Journalism, with a minor in Spanish. She is now the Growth Manager at CLLCTVE and a Freelance Writer for Adweek.
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