3 Ways to Help Creative People Flourish On Your Team

by | Feb 28, 2022 | Church Health, Church Leadership

There are some lessons we only learn the hard way. One of them for me has been ways I help creative people on our teams flourish.

I used to think when leading creatives, the key was to free them to create. Therefore, I gave huge blank slates, allowed people to dream, and gave them very few parameters of what I was thinking. I wanted them to come up with their “best” work – the most creative way.

I’ve learned – the hard way – freedom alone for a creative can spell disaster. The fact is that without some direction to creative people nothing gets accomplished and no one is happy.


Please understand. I’m not a basher of creatives.

I am actually a creative myself. I’m not the artistic creative type, but an idea creative. I have millions of ideas. (And a few of them turn out to be good ones.)

This principle is true for me also. I used to think I wanted and needed to be led with no boundaries. I was wrong. It’s not a good recipe for me.

I’ve learned the tips I’m about to share the hard way by attempting to lead creatives – and attempting to lead myself.

Creatives don’t need freedom – or at least freedom alone – they need more than that.


Here are 3 ways to help creative people flourish:


Give clear lines of direction.

Give them a clear vision of what you are trying to accomplish. Help them see what a win would look like to you. Help them draw a box around certain end goals or objectives.

The clearer you can be of what you are looking to do the more creative they can be.


Grant the freedom to draw within the lines.

Here’s the freedom creatives love. Once the end product is defined, creatives like limited micromanagement and maximum empowerment. They want the freedom to fail and the freedom to dream.

Creative people will flourish within broad but defined boundaries.


Provide accountability along the way.

Creative people need someone to check in with them periodically. They like to be motivated and encouraged. Let them know they are making progress and that they are doing good work. But also keep them challenged to meet deadlines and complete projects.

Without any lines or accountability creative people don’t flourish – they flounder. Things aren’t creative. They are messy.

Creatives love freedom but it works best sandwiched between clarity and structure.

When those 3 are combined – lines, freedom and accountability – stuff gets done and everyone is happy.

Actually I should clarify that mostly everyone is happy. If everyone is happy someone’s not leading – creatives or otherwise.


More Blog Posts by Ron Edmondson

Church Website Hero

Church Website Hero offers a done-for-you service that takes all the stress, hassle and guesswork out of building and managing your church website.

Ron Edmondson

I am CEO of Leadership Network. I was previously pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church, a church leader and the planter of two churches. I am passionate about planting churches but also helping established churches thrive. I love assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy, and life. My specialty is organizational leadership, so in addition to my role as a pastor, as I have time, I consult with church and ministry leaders. I have more than 35 years of leadership experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and have been in full-time ministry for over 15 years. I have successfully led the restart of one church and the planting of two churches, and now we are seeing God’s hand tremendously in church revitalization. I have a seminary masters and a master’s in organizational leadership. I also once helped lead (as an elected official) a mid-sized city, where I served as Vice Mayor and Finance Chair. The greatest times for me are with my wife Cheryl and our amazing adult sons, Jeremy, his wife Mary, and our youngest son Nate. Over 20 years ago, I founded a non-profit ministry called Mustard Seed Ministry, which provides devotional resources, conducts family, marriage, and parenting, and church leadership seminars. My INTJ personality on the Myers-Briggs indicator means I have big ideas, I love creative and critical thinking and I love to see progress. I am usually around people but crave downtime. For years I was usually training for either a half or full marathon. Running was my most productive thinking time. Knee problems in recent years have caused me to stop running, but I’m committed to finding the time I need to fuel my mind, body, and spirit. I write several times weekly on leadership, church, and family. To sign up for my blog on a reader or by email, click HERE. I do interact with my readers, so feel free to contact me. You can email me at ron.edmondson@gmail.com.I am also on Google+ at http://www.gplus.to/ronedmondson, Twitter at www.twitter.com/ronedmondson and Facebook at www.facebook.com/ronaedmondson. My devotional site is www.mustardseedministry.com