Laurenz Schaller

A young German intern in South Africa

Laurenz Schaller is a student from Berlin, Germany. During his undergraduate studies, he co-founded Formlos Berlin (, a small student-run agency. Right now, he is doing an internship at a Cape Town-based advertising agency, GSDH South Africa. Contact Laurenz via email , Skype Laurenz Schaller, and connect on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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Creativity, team spirit and avoiding conflicts

12 Apr 2012 12:25:00
Right now, I’m writing my first post for Bizcommunity, so here comes a short introduction about myself. I’m Laurenz, a student from Berlin doing an internship at a Cape Town-based advertising agency. During my six-month stay, I’ll write some posts about my experiences and ideas/minds that come up.

If you are interested in my projects or want to leave me a message, follow our little student-run agency we founded about one year ago on Facebook.

Recently I had a long discussion with my student mates, all doing internships in different advertising agencies all over the world. We talked about how a team has to interact to create a decent atmosphere at work. So this first post is addressed to all the creative spirits, who see themselves in leading positions.

Dealing with youngsters

I will provide some clues and suggestions how you deal with youngsters such as interns or juniors. Enhance creativity and team spirit, and avoid conflicts.

I guess there are hundreds of books, guides and stuff on how to act as a leader. Keep in mind the following simple suggestions as a first step:
  • Be a mentor and a leader

    Young and rising talents especially want to learn; if they feel unchallenged or think you, as a creative leader, have less intelligence than them, they’ll get unhappy and maybe big-headed. Show them what they can learn from you and challenge them. Authority is much more important than it seems to be.

  • Stay a friend

    Imagine you have a big pitch and you need to trust your team in doing everything possible to work out a decent presentation. That won’t work with usual 9-to-5-minded employees. Improve your relation with them by caring about more than just their use for the agency. Grab a beer and take an hour to hang out. This will be rewarded with superior motivation and commitment for your projects.

  • Brief correctly

    Inaccurate briefings are sad. Wasted time does not only cause financial problems, it makes your team frustrated. Request a decent briefing from the client; make sure every task is described as precise as possible. Or make sure the client trusts in your own solutions for certain issues. At the same time you should make some room for the ideas of your team. If someone comes up with a great idea, and there is no space for that idea, save it! Make an idea-parking area on a whiteboard and profit later.

  • Create ways for your team to identify with their agency and their work

    Working in a well-known and highly regarded agency is like a status symbol. See your press department as a tool to enhance the identification with your agency. If your team is happy, they will share your company’s spirit with the public and be proud of working there.
How do you deal with creative trainees in your team?

[12 Apr 2012 12:25]

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Edna Bursays
Thank you for posting this piece, Laurenz. I like what you said about staying a friend. When you don’t care about your employees, they notice. When you do care about your employees, they notice. While I am simply an employee and don’t have any trainees, my current boss takes time to ask how we are doing, and I can tell you it makes a difference.
Posted on 18 Apr 2012 19:53
Ronny Reber
Ronny Reber
Hey Laurenz. Nice first writing. I totally agree with you even if I'm also an employee and not a boss. I have also one suggestion for you which as important as every other point you mentioned - Honesty. If you our another employee have a problem, please don't be shy. There won't be any boss or other employee in your company or agency who will rip your head off if you talk with him about your problems. Exactly the opposite will happen. It will strengthen the family feeling.
Posted on 11 May 2012 14:00