“Now for the answer you might not want. Stakeholder management is really similar to having clients.”

Now for the answer you might not want: stakeholder management is really similar to having clients. That makes it a great chance to practice that relationship and explore how you bring them on the journey with you. A huge part of our jobs as creatives is to educate those who don’t understand design. It’s obvious they’d like to be part of the creative process (and the fact your boss hasn’t intervened, suggests they have every right to be). Perhaps you need to look at how you’re involving them.

Do they just see final outcomes, with no context? Is it being presented to them in the same way you would to a client? Or does a PDF just land in their inbox? Can you show more WIP work so they feel part of the team?

Asking ‘Can you explain why you think that?’ is a great way to dig deeper into their feedback. Often they will be coming from a strategic place and considering the wider ambitions of the business. There’s a great report by Inside Out, that outlines 12 Principles for Succeeding In-house under similar conditions – that might be worth a read.

Ultimately, they don’t want to hinder you from doing your job. Because that doesn’t serve them or the business. Look to work with them, not against them.


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