Bark, Beg, and BadgerUsually, our first inclination is our worst. Hopefully we get better as we guide our team over time, but that doesn't stop us from badgering our writers a bit too much in the beginning. We send reminder emails. Sarcastic hints. Eye rolls. Yelling that tanks morale and friendships. These aren't all that motivating, or successful. They rarely lead to long-term improvements. There is a better way.
OwnershipOne of my go-to management theories for nearly everything has been the principal of ownership. When writers feel a sense of ownership on a project, they become more willing to do amazing things. They work late, they put in the extra time, and most importantly they take pride in what they do because they aren't just doing it for you. They are doing it for themselves.
Giving your writing team ownership in what they do gives their words power.Click To Tweet
1. Let Them InToo many editors assume that their writers cannot be trusted. This is insulting, and makes grown adults feel like a child. Great editors move beyond this, and trust their writers first by letting them in on what we are doing. If they simply can't be trusted, then they probably shouldn't be on your team (and that is a different problem entirely). This means that you should make them a part of your big decisions. Their opinion needs to count. It also means that your job is not to lord over them. Rather, your job is to delegate big goals, and then get out of the details and out of their way.
2. Let Them Be ThemMost editors were writers first, and that makes it easy for them to meddle and place too much control over what their writers do and how they do it. Don't micro manage. Trust your writers, and let them develop their own spin, their own voice, and their own style. Of course, this doesn't mean that you withhold all restraints. Boundaries are good and necessary. Just don't be over zealous in your control, and recognize that your tendency is to go at least one step too far.
3. Create a Creative EnvironmentWhen we over-extend ourselves as managers, we turn a creative process into a robotic one. We create "templates," "guidelines," and "standards" that suck creativity out of the room. We believe that our limitations bring quality, but if they are over the top, they can do the exact opposite. Creativity is a powerful tool. We have to recognize that our writers are creative people, and give them the opportunity to embrace it. This means that we need to be willing to let them try something new, let them explore, let them fail, and let them succeed all on their own.
Too much editing in your editor makes a writing team not want to write.Click To Tweet