How to get better creative work

I used to be an asshole creative director.

Swearing at juniors, throwing awards across offices, screaming at teams that their work was complete shit and they should leave the agency now - no, right fucking now - while they still had a chance of getting another job.

That was a good day. At the end of a bad day after too much coke and too much liquor, I was a real prick. And I used to pride myself on it. Thought the whole macho thing hardened creatives to the realities of business and made them produce better work. Losing their dignity was a small price to pay for great work.

It took me a while to realise how wrong I was. Making people feel bad is no way to get the best out of them. Belittling people helps no one. Least of all yourself. (Seriously, being an asshole is no way to get through life. It has repercussions beyond work. It bleeds into everything. Even your soul.)

If you want to get better creative work, don’t make it personal. Compliment the person, critique the work.

As a creative director, you don’t want criticism to be taken personally. Creative people are thin-skinned by nature. This is a good thing. This is a strength, not a weakness. You want everyone in your creative department to be more open to everything.

Your job as a creative director is to protect them.

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