Learning how to work in a team is one thing, being able to manage a team is another
We are all human and finding the balance between being the boss we want to be, the boss everyone else wants us to be and the idiosyncratic quirks in our personality, can often be challenging. Being the perfect boss is the same as being the perfect employee, there is no such thing, everyone has their off days and not everyone will enjoy working with you all the time. Trying to please everyone all the time is not, however, the issue, you can still aim to please most people, most of the time.
Getting it right is definitely not easy but don’t fall into thinking that just because you are boss, doesn’t mean you can’t be wrong. Being open to realising that you can still make mistakes and wrong decisions, acknowledging when you are wrong and being prepared to learn from these mistakes in order to move forward is what is important in becoming a boss that is well respected and well loved by all.
Working with any team in any business certainly has its challenges but an events team requires even more focus; time is often of the essence, stress levels are high, working hours can be extremely anti social and burn out is frequent.
Producing an event is definitely not a one-man show so learning how to bring out the best in your team is therefore crucial in determining the quality of your product. After all, you can only be as good as your team and your event, as good as the sum of their effort, willingness to work and their happiness working for you!
Unfortunately there are more negative categories of boss than positive. If one suddenly sets one too many bells clanging, we advise that you may want to revert to a little introspection.
Mr Nice Guy
Every one likes a friendly boss but be careful not to appear to sickly sweet. A team needs guidance and while nobody likes a boss that only ever seems to be able to shout rather than talk, not dealing with team issues will equally not earn you any brownie points. While you might want to win the team over and gain respect, you don’t suddenly have to become everyone’s best buddy. There is a certain self-respecting line that you can’t cross here without being accused of seeking out favourites. Be socialable, be approachable, be easy going but don’t start trying to make new best friends. This could also come across the wrong way and get you into unnecessary trouble.
While you don’t want your employees to feel like they are walking on ice, you do have a job to get done and get done properly. Employees need to know that actions do have consequences and that there are rules that need to be abided by.
Remember that being the boss means being able to dish out the compliments as well as the reprimands and there needs to be certain distance between you and your colleagues in order for you to do this. You don’t need to play the mean-boss-card in order to be heard but being overly easy will not help you deal with certain situations fairly and being a push over gains no-ones respect.
Mr Hide and Seek
Don’t be the boss that hides at the first sign of any problem. If this is case, then really you shouldn’t be where you are standing and if you are, at least be humble enough to admit your weakness, then start working on it. There are certain prerequisites to being a boss, which if you haven’t already acquired you need to develop soon! Going out of your way to avoid contact when there is a negative situation to be dealt with is just not cool. It’s frustrating to those unable to do anything about the situation at hand and please don’t have somebody else do your dirty work for you, it will certainly not buy you any respect. Whether it’s an unhappy client to deal with, team argument to calm or a team member to let go, while this is not pleasant, being the boss means you kind of have to take charge. Be there for your team. An open door policy goes a long way and your team will appreciate you being around when they need you to be. No one likes to play a game of hide and seek with his or her boss.
Mr Wise Guy
You have a team because to be quite honest, you are not the one-man band you might want to believe that you are. Team members are hired on their skill set, so use them.
Trust your team and try to loose the unappreciated opinion that no one can do the job better than you. Remember that while you may have worked your way up the chain of command, your team are all experts in their field whether they are sound & light technicians, administrators, event managers or wedding planners. They have hands on experience and the culmination of their expertise will certainly produce a better result. Encourage them to put their knowledge to good use.
Mr Prove It To Me
While you may find yourself akin to certain members of the team either because you have known them for longer or they have won your respect, do not favour them. Do not overload one particular person with work; the rest of the team will certainly notice and the former may not be quite so forgiving either. Be trustful. Newer members of the team may just be as good as the older ones with untapped skills and new ideas that you could benefit from! They maybe on a probation or trial period but this doesn’t mean you can’t treat them like any other member of the team. Being accused of favouritism or discrimination is quite frankly far more undignified than being known for giving a short temper or being a stickler for detail.
New Manager Syndrome
You’ve just been promoted and life feels good. Enjoy, celebrate but don’t forget to come back down to earth. Don’t suddenly start wielding your power and snapping your fingers. We understand that your new title may have been years in the making but don’t make everyone else regret the decision! You don’t have to act like a bull in china shop either. Change is good but don’t bulldoze your team by telling them that everything they have been doing up until now is wrong; you won’t make any friends believe me! Start off slow but on the right foot and remember that you most probably still have a lot to learn. Honesty also goes a long way, so if you don’t have the answers, don’t simply pretend that you do in order to keep up appearances. Turn to your team and be open to their suggestions, they will certainly appreciate your confidence in them. You are after all only a boss and not superhuman!
The Boss from Hell
Be careful not to become overly controlling. Allow your team scope to work within given guidelines but avoid the urge to constantly check up on everyone. Having someone breathing down your neck every five minutes is disconcerting, off-putting, exceedingly frustrating and often counter productive. Extend your team the professional courtesy of not micromanaging them and allow them sufficient breathing space to do their job. Also remember that a team will only work well if responsibilities are shared. However much a perfectionist you might be, do not fail to delegate responsibility in the belief that “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself”. Your trust in your team will be noticeable by its absence and branding everyone around you as incapable, won’t win you any friends or favours. Remember that a positive working environment, will always allow for better results, you don’t have to shout either to be heard!.
By all means be smart about the way about you work and always look for ways to produce maximum efficiency in as little time as possible. This doesn’t give permission to become a time obsessed control freak but to establish reasonable to do lists and deadlines. Have a common spreadsheet or table where the “to do” lists can be accessed by everyone. As team leader or team boss, this will reduce the niggling need to follow up and will certainly keep everyone “on the same page”. Having a follow up spreadsheet also reduces the need for time consuming meetings that no one looks forward to and your team will certainly thank you for keep meetings to a minimum. Review progress as necessary or as obstacles present themselves. Be approachable with an open door policy and make sure you catch up with your employees on a one to one basis too. Taking the time to know your team will teach you how to get the best out of their combined effort. Remember that your employees are also not perfect and need clear guidance, recognition and encouragement to meet their professional and personal goals. Don’t just address the negative, also address the positive and keep a good balance between the two. Sometimes a simple ‘thank you’ is enough to do the trick!
Always keep an open line of communication with your team and ensure that everyone is in the loop with all up-dates. Changes can occur but being flexible and efficient in your response to these changes is vital. Mistakes can happen and problems can arise but learn to keep your cool; going off the handle at whoever is around you doesn’t get you any closer to resolving the situation.
A good boss is one that…
…can combine efficiency and organization with approachability, good humour and fairness with out allowing any of the other qualities to get out of balance. We like this. Above all remember that it is not always what you say or what you do but how you say it and how you do it that counts!