Creative Directors

I have the title and salary of a CD but I feel like it was premature and I don’t have the skills to back it up if I were to go into an interview for another CD role. How do you know? Any advice?

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Fake it. You’re a cd now. Your job is to help people succeed. Simple as that. How can you help any person on your team succeed on any given project at any given time.

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Wow all kinds of advice, some of it contradictory. I advise against taking a step back. Your job is to motivate your teams to deliver great work, meaning work that achieves its objective. A big part of it is interacting with the account and strategy teams to make sure expectations are clear—objectives, how they will be measured, etc. If you’re client-facing, you have to be able to sell in work that’s on strategy. Nothing is more discouraging for a creative than to bust your butt and your work dies for some arbitrary reason. You need to be able to make an argument without being argumentative. And there will still be times when you need to roll up your sleeves and do the work yourself. Sometimes your teams just aren’t gonna get there. And sometimes you just KNOW what has to be done, and you just do it. But I would exercise that prerogative sparingly. Nobody wants to be competing with their boss all the time.

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Your question alone makes you better than the many blowhards I’ve worked alongside.

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My current position is almost all management. I feel like I have lost the creative aspect and it seems to me that creativity is more valuable. I also feel like I got promoted before I was able to really develop my creative strength. I’ve always been on the leadership track but feel I won’t be respected unless I can create too. Am I totally mental?

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Just imagine all of the terrible CDs you had in the past and do the opposite of what they did. Like, take credit for other people's work. Be non-responsive. Not being inclusive. Not being human. Lack of empathy. The list is unfortunately astounding - yet simple to overcome.

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What skills do you feel you are missing? I think management skills are a big one for most CDs (I know I lack those myself). Managing people well is the hardest skill to get, few have it. But I think you get that with experience. You should be able to sell work/manage client/lead projects from concept to production, etc.

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Either way, be gracious and give credit where it’s due

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I was in the same boat. CD2’s advice is spot on. Help your people make great work, utilize the skills that got you there. If you still feel like it isn’t the right fit after a few months, don’t worry about taking a step back. Do what’s best for your career.

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In my experience, rarely do people notice if you help others do great work, they want you to do the great work - while keeping the team and client happy. I would advise against faking it until you make it. You’re meant to know it now. Maybe take a step back.

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ha. okay. if you manage you manage. that is how you get great work. look at alex. he never did anything on his own. he just lead people and he seemed to get his name on good work.

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