My 5 Principles of Management
Building Our Business Vol. 1
At 19, I was promoted to manager at a local coffee shop — about 8 employees. A few years later, in my job as a licensed vocational nurse I was responsible for the care of my patients as well as the nursing assistants that did much of the heavy lifting (quite literally). I then managed a sales team before I started my entrepreneurial journey in 2014.
I believe I’ve found some success so far and although my career is far (far, far, far) from over, I’ve developed my own set of principles for managing a team. There are tons of nuances when it comes to management and I could probably write dozens of ‘rules’ I have for managers (and trust me, I will) but for the sake of 5-minute readability I’ve listed out those I believe encompass my overall approach.
Your Team is Worth More than Your Clients
This may be the most important of all the principles and may come as a surprise to some. However, with the shift in your managerial-mindset, you must take care of your team above all else. The people on your team are the ones executing on your strategies, fulfilling your deliverables, driving your revenue and — keeping your clients happy. Do what you can to take care of them and remind them that they are more important than your clients.
Learn and Implement All the Skills You’re Managing
There’s nothing worse than a leader who doesn’t know what the hell they’re actually talking about. This happens often — we’ve all seen it. The best leaders can implement all of the skills they’re managing with competence, or at the very least understand the basics enough to place great operators in place.
You may find yourself in a position managing or leading a team who’s skillset maybe outside of yours to a degree. I personally believe that this does not handicap your leadership — as long as you take the time to learn the ins and outs of the skills your team.
Be a Resource First and a Manager Second
When you’re responsible for the success of multiple people, it’s important that you share what you believe will make your team more successful. Hold a weekly Q&A session with your department, share industry and company news with your team often, offer a helping hand on tight deadlines and provide everything you can to ensure your team can achieve their — and ultimately your goals.
Most importantly, drop the notion that withholding knowledge is your key to keeping your job. Fun fact — a thriving team will keep your job better than your latest productivity software.
Successes are for Your Team, Not You.
When I was managing my sales team we ended up hitting the number 1 team for the week and the month. I remember coming home to my roommate saying “I did it!”. Never letting me get away with anything he replied, “You might have helped coach them, but you didn’t do shit. They did it.”.
I never made that mistake again.
Create an Environment of Security and Creativity
It’s my personal belief that people thrive when they feel as if their jobs safe and their ideas are valued.
Taking the time to do one-on-one training with your team members to help them if they’re falling behind can go a long way. Not only will you be doing — well frankly, your job — but you’ll also remind your team that they are in fact important to you and the organization.
When someone on your team brings an idea to the table, take the time to uncover it’s origin. Ask them why they feel as if it will work and how they plan on implementing it. If you feel that the ideas are viable, use them and of course be sure to give them credit. Remember, good leaders create leaders.
I am not suggesting that one should abandon performance evaluations, constructive criticism and the consequences of sub-par results. However, I believe that each person on your team deserves to be given your full effort in mentorship. Ideas should, at the very least, be explored if not implemented.
If you think building a team is hard, maintaining one is even harder. Being a leader takes humility, diligence and a hell of a lot of empathy. It’s critical to be focused on your objectives but flexible in your approach. Take the time to develop principles that you stand by, your brand of management and find what works for you and your organization.