In-house Issues: A Labor Of Love

“Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in what they do.

… Workers’ well-being depends, in large part, on managers’ ability and willingness to facilitate workers’ accomplishments — by removing obstacles, providing help and acknowledging strong effort…of all the events that engage people at work, the single most important — by far — is simply ……………………………………………. making progress in meaningful work.”

The quote above from a must-read New York Times OpEd piece by Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer nails the dynamic most corporate teams – and particularly creative teams which have high-level innovative functions as part of their core mandate – need to succeed. The problem is that creative team managers often move up into their roles because of their technical and design expertise, not their people and leadership skills. Many don’t realize that the most effective support they can provide their team is not advice on how create a better layout or use a software program more effectively – but rather to find ways to create a supportive nurturing and safe environment where their staff can thrive and practice the art and craft of design.

Unfortunately there are precious few opportunities for in-house designers to learn and develop management and leadership skills. It’s critical that in-house designers seek out the few books, periodicals, blogs and conferences that can provide this kind of professional development. Professional organizations, both for and not-for-profit alike, must accelerate their efforts to provide this type of training for the design community. Certainly HOW, AIGA, InSource and DMI are moving in this direction as are academic institutions like Pratt and Carnegie-Mellon University. In the meantime corporate creatives need to marshal every resource at their disposal to fashion a mental, emotional and physical space for themselves where they work that allows for a culture of autonomy, innovation and achievement.

On The Job Resources


One thought on “In-house Issues: A Labor Of Love

  1. Lisa

    This is such an important issue that I think managers tend to overlook or forget…Positive reinforcement and recognition for work done is so important because we do spend more of our life at work. Without that reinforcement, life at work just feels “lifeless”.