It can be difficult leading a creative agency; you have clients to serve high-quality work to deliver and employees to manage. The best leaders are consistently growing and developing to ensure they continue to successfully drive their business forward - they know how to get the very most of their team, they inspire employees to constantly better themselves, and they smoothly lead their organisation through times of change or crisis.
And, whilst some growth is more long-term, some of the most impactful changes can come from adopting small positive habits within your everyday work routine. In today's article, I'll be revealing how to be a better leader for your creative agency by utilising these 12 daily habits, proven to transform your leadership approach.
#1 Build a morning routine
Many entrepreneurs like to start the day early, often before the sun even rises. Creating a morning routine can help you eliminate any necessary stress, and will usually set the tone for the rest of the day ahead. This can be completely personalised to you - in fact, it's vital the morning routine you build is one you love and will maintain. Get a workout in, catch up on the latest news or simply take some time for yourself over a cup of home-brewed coffee.
#2 Engage with your team
Whilst it may sound like a cliche, communication is key. An agency can't be successful if those within it fail to work effectively as a team. And as the leader, it is your responsibility to ensure there is effective communication, collaboration and engagement between all your employees.
It's important you dedicate time to connect with your team members every day, keeping spirits high and ensuring projects stay on track. Whether it's checking in through an instant messaging service or an in-person catch-up, it's vital you are actively involved in the day-to-day routine of your employees. Remember, when learning how to be a better leader you need to listen to your team and look for new ways to interact - start conversations, share ideas and leave room for open, honest communication.
#3 Take care of your health
Prioritising your well-being is one of the best ways to improve your creative agency's overall company culture and boost employee morale. As the leader of the organisation, however, you act as the role model - this overall shift starts with you. Focusing on your well-being and health doesn't mean just toning up at the gym, it includes your emotional, spiritual and mental wellness too.
Dedicate time to go for a walk, spend time with your family and friends It's easy to get caught up in the running of a creative agency but to be a highly effective leader, you need to create a healthy work-life balance that will see your organisation thrive in the long term. Your employees will follow your example, and as a result, are less likely to "burn out" or move to a different company.
#4 Write down your goals
Every leader should get into the daily habit of writing down their goals and what they desire in the lives. It doesn't have to be a long-winded process, just a quick five minutes set aside in the morning to jot down priorities and goals for the day can ensure you remained aligned to your overall vision. You'll find as a result, you can reach targets faster and in addition, you'll have a renewed sense of purpose.
#5 Read something related to your area of expertise
When you ask how to be a better leader, it's important to consider how you can develop as an individual. A simple habit to adopt to grow your expertise is to simply read at least one article or one chapter of a book related to a relevant industry subject matter. Not only is it crucial you have command of your own thoughts and understanding, but to also know what else is being said about your industry - is there a new trend or new process? By staying updated and growing your knowledge, you can offer your employees innovation and thought-provoking conversations that will challenge your organisation to think bigger.
#6 Practice optimism
Optimism is contagious and can inspire others around you, but it isn't about cheer-leading and giving pep talks! Rather, it is about your body language and the attitude you enter into a situation with, particularly if one that is unexpected or challenges you. If you can bring optimism to the workplace, you can create a better environment for communication. In addition, it may also help you see new opportunities and move on quicker to new endeavours as you'll avoid getting stuck in a rut.
#7 Accept setbacks and failures
A strong leader is accountable for their team's performance, they accept the responsibility rather than deflecting it onto others. Perhaps you fall short of reaching a target or a deadline for a client is missed, a leader will mediate the situation rather than throwing someone else under the bus. In the long term, this builds strong working relationships based on trust. If an obstacle looks to push you off track, don't let this crush your overall vision and momentum. Instead, accept and learn from the situation, then implement these lessons into your new plan.
#8 Be open to evaluation
You hold your employees accountable, but who is keeping you accountable and ensuring you continue to develop your abilities? It's a two-way street - you need to be open to honest feedback to identify areas of improvement you may have not otherwise considered. This highlights to your employees that the agency's overall mission is the priority, rather than you as a leader. And, suggests a level of self-awareness as you continue trying to better yourself as a leader.
#9 "Do good"
Follow in Ben Franklin's footsteps by book-ending each day with "What good shall I do today?" and "What good have I done today?" - these two simple questions will see you successfully prioritise those around you. As a leader, it's essential you focus on those you are leading rather than yourself. Look at how you can broaden your employees' capabilities with consistent, effective evaluation and help them add more value.
#10 Take a walk
A daily walk is a relatively easy habit to adopt and will result in enhanced physical, mental, spiritual and emotional energy. Just a small investment of 20 minutes a day will not only slightly raise your heartbeat but will sharpen your self-regulation, creativity, resilience and confidence. If you take one daily habit away with you, make it a walk; whilst you may be wondering if this can truly assist your leadership skills, you'd be surprised by the results of this simple activity on your work approach.
#11 Spend 15 minutes on your career
As the leader or owner of a creative agency, you can easily neglect your own career as it often feels as though there is little scope for you to move forward. You don't need to spend hours crafting a CV or working on interview questions, but just 15 minutes of networking or completing an online course to advance your skills will portray to your employees your passion for the organisation. You want to become the very best for the company and your team; so, not only are you developing yourself as an individual but you will also be motivating those you lead.
#12 Say "no"
When considering how to be a better leader, one habit is often avoided at all costs but it can be highly effective and completely transform your creative agency. As an agency owner, you often want to take on everything that comes your way yet, unfortunately, not everything is worth your valuable time.
Learning to say "no" will empower you and allow you to focus on your priorities but it can be a struggle for fear of resentment or guilt. However, effective leaders know how to be selective with their time. Create solid guidelines for your clients and team to ensure your creative agency can move forward instead of plateauing.
How to be a better leader: The conclusion
Leadership isn't about you, it's about those you lead. But, to do so effectively it's vital you continue to develop and grow as an individual. Incorporating these daily habits may seem meaningless or overly simple, yet they have the ability to transform your approach to leading within your creative agency. Building a healthy morning routine, remaining optimistic when faced with new challenges and being transparent about your own abilities are simple methods that many leaders still overlook. Choose one or two of the habits above to begin and set yourself a goal of sticking to these, you'll be surprised by the results!
Are you looking to develop your creative agency but aren't sure where to begin? With 25+ years of experience in the industry, I can help you develop both your organisation and your leadership abilities. To learn more about me and what I do, click here to visit my website, or click here to get in touch and discuss your individual requirements today.