Monday 13 May 2024

Manager Fundamentals: Become the best manager you can be

By Amanda Fuller, Managing Partner, DDB Remedy

Congratulations, you’re finally a manager!

You’ve been promoted and now all of a sudden you’re managing people. It’s a career highlight, a sign that the leadership team believe in you, that you’ve accomplished a lot by yourself, and now you can mentor and lead others to achieve also. I remember this time in my career – it felt great having the trust of my managers but honestly, it was also very daunting. This person is relying on me to help them grow in their career, and to teach them ‘the right way’, and my managers are entrusting me with larger project responsibilities too. But most of all I honestly did not know how to manage people. And it was obvious.

Those first few years in a management role can be tough and full of trial and error. Questioning yourself around your organisational skills (which are now required for multiple people), questioning what type of manager you are (and every word you say, was that too blunt, not direct enough?) and the pressure to be responsible for the work results of more than just yourself can be a lot.

In preparation for AdSchool’s upcoming Management Fundamentals course, I’ve been reflecting on my last 15 years of people management, what’s changed over time, and what new managers have to contend with. Below are my top three observations which I’ll be taking into the course facilitation with me.

Your style
Finding your management style is tricky. But remember, who you are is the best starting point and why you’ve done so well in your career to date. Lean into who you are, be honest and authentic, and be as ‘human’ as you can be. Reflecting on your own managers also helps—what attributes can you identify from them to reflect yourself, and what traits do you want to avoid? Remind yourself of these daily!

People power
Get to know the people you are managing as well as you can—what motivates them, when are they most productive (and least), do they need a lot of coaching or prefer to work with less direction? Then, map this to the tasks, projects, their role, and the business’ expectations. This way, a great team feel can be created, and you can challenge them in their role appropriately and get work done more efficiently.

One thing I can absolutely say is that our day-to-day lives are by far more chaotic than they ever have been. The number of communication channels to stay up to date on and the sheer amount of information, work platforms, and new technology to understand and use can be overwhelming. We are genuinely doing more for our clients with fewer people. To counter this, as a manager, it’s vital to tune into the needs of your team and their stress levels, and create an environment that enables everyone to enjoy their work time, be productive and also switch off. This also means understanding the priorities of the business and setting expectations of when the pace needs to pick up and when it can slacken off enough to revive and reset. This is especially important given workplace health and safety legislation around psychosocial hazards.

Management Fundamentals will teach you both practical management components, such as performance management and coaching, and softer skills to develop your management style and help create the right environment for you and your team to succeed together. One of the best components of the course is meeting a group of rising stars just like you to discuss and debate the issues you are facing in your roles and gain support and advice from your peers and facilitator.


AdSchool Manager Fundamentals starts May 30 in Sydney, Melbourne and online. Find out more here.

Recent news