Working in a creative industry has many perks. Not only does it give you the freedom to flex your creative muscles every work day, but you also get to surround yourself with like-minded peeps who want to make inspiring and original material just like you! Unfortunately, working closely with highly artistic individuals also means that creative differences are unavoidable. Instead of embracing the drama and corroding your project with pointless arguments, here are six expert-approved ways to help you successfully work through your creative differences with your peers. Let鈥檚 get to work!

1. Make sure the project鈥檚 goals are clear from the get-go. 鈥淭here could be a thousand ways to approach a particular creative project, but very few will actually meet the core business need at hand,鈥 Co-Founder and Design Director at Raygun Stacey Edelstein says. 鈥淲e always begin our creative projects by defining our key goals and the problem we need to solve. If the team is at an impasse, we can go back to our planning documents and objectively discuss how each idea meets the stated goals. This helps to rule out subjective opinion, ensure everyone鈥檚 voice is heard, and collectively make a decision.鈥

2. Understand that different people have different priorities. 鈥淭he reason why people have different thoughts on decisions is they have different priorities,鈥 remarks Marc Prosser, co-founder of Fit Small Business Marc Prosser. For instance, while a social media manager might be pushing for something that will gain the company鈥檚 Twitter page a lot of traffic, the creative lead might have strong feelings about why a certain viral style won鈥檛 work for the integrity of the project. 鈥淢ore than one point of view can have validity,鈥 notes Prosser. 鈥淚f you are arbiter or final decision maker and you have different people presenting strong cases, it鈥檚 important not to make the person whose idea is not taken feel like a loser. Rather, if possible, make everyone understand that there are reasons that one approach was taken over the other.鈥

3.Avoid visceral and defensive reactions to constructive criticism. 鈥淚t is never fun to have someone question your creative direction, but learning not to react to the criticism itself allows creatives to question why someone isn鈥檛 responding to that work,鈥 notes Creative Director at Overflow Storytelling Lab Jeff Short. If possible, take a breather after getting constructive criticism about your work to give yourself some time to decompress. 鈥淟earning someone鈥檚 motives for why they don鈥檛 connect to creative work will not only help in communicating with that person during potentially uncomfortable meetings, but it will also better inform future decisions.鈥

4. Draw it out. 鈥淎s a creative director for years, I would have my team draw out their concepts and do a mini show and tell,鈥 says public speaker, marketing consultant, and brand designer Jacqueline Wolven. 鈥淯sing one piece of paper, they sketch out their concept, their flow chart, or their thinking (even rudimentary artists can do this). Then they come back together to present them with either a neutral party or to each other. Really, it鈥檚 a de-escalation effort as well as a moment to really hone your concept and be able to present it back out.鈥

5. Make an effort to go offline and meet face-to-face. 鈥淲e work remotely with most of our clients and use tools like Basecamp to collect ideas and feedback,鈥 notes Edelstein. 鈥淚f the conversation starts to derail, or if we can鈥檛 seem to reach a compromise on a particular direction, I immediately find a way to work it out face-to-face 鈥 either in person or Skype 鈥 so I can make eye contact and pay attention to signals like body language and tone. Most of the time, it will turn out that we wanted the same thing all along; we just had different ways of expressing it.鈥

6. Don鈥檛 be afraid to test out new ways of conflict resolution. When you鈥檙e really stuck, it can seem impossible to come up with viable solutions to overcome your creative differences that don鈥檛 involve some sort of verbal nitpicking or conflict. Author of The Power of Creative Paths ($3) Steven Savage encourages us to vigorously pursue diverse tactics to help creatives think about the project in a new way. 鈥淗ave people in creative conflict come up with multiple versions of their ideas. Pick the one you like from each and have the person improve the ideas from their opponent, making three more iterations. After two or three revisions, they are usually in sync,鈥 says Savage. Or if that doesn鈥檛 work, he suggests having each of the employees in conflict try and explain why the other person鈥檚 idea may be better. There are many different group exercises you can do to help get back on track 鈥 don鈥檛 be afraid to experiment until you find one that works for your particular office dynamic.

How do you deal with creative differences in the office? Tweet us by mentioning @BritandCo.

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