INDISPENSABLE LEADERSHIP SKILLS: Report Explores Most Important Qualities for Managing Design Teams

    TORONTO, Jan. 6 /CNW/ - Keeping morale and productivity high within
creative departments can pose a challenge, particularly in the current
economic environment. A new survey of design professionals outlines the most
essential traits for today's creative leaders, as well as specific actions
firms can take to retain creative staff and prepare them to assume greater

    Among the Highlights:

    -   Open-mindedness and adaptability were cited as two of the most
        valuable traits of a creative manager, surpassing traditional
        attributes such as patience and loyalty.

    -   More than four out of 10 (44 per cent) respondents rated their
        leaders "fair" or "poor" at developing work environments that support
        risk-taking and exploration.

    -   Nearly four out of 10 (39 per cent) respondents said "doing more with
        fewer resources" will be the greatest priority for creative leaders
        in the coming year.

    -   Less than half (46 per cent) of respondents said their firms are
        taking steps to identify and prepare staff members to move into
        managerial roles.

    The full findings are available in a new report, Profile of the New
Creative Leader, developed by The Creative Group, a specialized staffing
service providing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a
project and full-time basis. A free copy of the report can be downloaded at
    "It is imperative for creative leaders to adapt to the challenges their
teams face," said Collin Maria Ezzell, division director of The Creative
Group. "With the current economic environment, effective leadership skills are
increasingly important. Our aim with this initiative was to examine which
traits are most essential and whether those qualities are being supported
within creative organizations."

    Adaptability Gaining Prominence

    As business needs fluctuate and companies shift strategies, creative
leaders must be able to adapt and help team members do the same. Nearly
two-thirds of survey respondents rated open-mindedness and adaptability among
the top five traits most desired in a creative leader. These attributes
surpassed more traditional qualities such as patience and loyalty, which were
cited by 11 per cent and 8 per cent of those polled, respectively. When it
comes to the challenges creative leaders face, finding time to strategize
versus attending to day-to-day tasks ranked at the top with 47 per cent of the

    Motivating on a Budget

    The research demonstrated that simple acknowledgement of strong work can
go a long way toward keeping staff motivated: Communicating successes to upper
management (74 per cent) and providing recognition at staff meetings or via
company newsletters (61 per cent) ranked among the most effective ways to
acknowledge employee achievements, above perks such as paid time off (44 per
cent) or gift certificates (20 per cent).

    The Training Gap

    The research also suggested that while many creative professionals want
the opportunity to develop their leadership skills, few employers offer
adequate training. More than half (55 per cent) of respondents rated their
firms only "fair" or "poor" at providing leadership training.
    Companies may hold back on training because they haven't identified the
right person to invest in. According to the research, many organizations lack
succession plans and don't actively groom future leaders. Consequently, more
than half (52 per cent) of respondents said they weren't confident someone
could fill their shoes if they had to step down from their position.

    About The Creative Group

    The Creative Group specializes in placing a range of highly skilled
creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals with a variety of firms
on a project and full-time basis. The Creative Group's internal account
managers typically have prior experience working within the creative industry,
which helps them better understand their clients' needs and their freelancers'
unique talents. More information, including online job-hunting services,
candidate portfolios and The Creative Group's award-winning career magazine,
can be found at

For further information:

For further information: Kristie Perrotte, (416) 365-2010,

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