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People Management Should Be Your Top Priority

This article was based on episode 205 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Get 10% off educational advising or college essay editing from College Prep 360 when you become a member at themodernmanager.com/join.


So many of the entrepreneurs and business leaders that I coach were never trained in the art and science of people management. They built a successful company by being experts in their field and only later realized they had no idea what to do with their growing staff. And yet, the ultimate success of business is determined by whether the founder or leader can ultimately cultivate a team and environment where great people do great work.


Today I am joined by one of my favorite entrepreneurs and clients, Joie Jager Hyman. Joie is the founder of College Prep 360, a boutique educational advisory group. She’s also the author of two books on college admissions: "B+ Grades A+ College Applications" and "Fat Envelope Frenzy".


When Joie first listened to my podcast, she quickly turned it off in frustration. How, she thought, was she supposed to learn what each of her employee’s preferences and needs were on top of all the normal work she needed to do to keep the business going? After a few coaching sessions, however, Joie started to come around to the magic of good management. Now she’s a true modern manager believer. Here are some of the core ideas Joie walked away with that she now uses in building her organization.


MANAGEMENT IS THE FOUNDATION


As Joie puts it, if you don’t have a team, you don’t have anything. Your team is what makes your organization succeed. Just like with self care, the better you take care of yourself, the better you can take care of others. So, too, with your team. The better you take care of your team, the better your team can take care of clients. We need to understand that people management is the foundation of all of our work. It is our job as managers to make sure our team is thriving. This is not just a nice thing to do. It's non-negotiable for a productive team.


WHO DO YOU WANT TO BE?


Of all the exercises and talks Joie and I had, the most impactful for her was developing her organization’s values. This was a process that involved the entire team. They discussed their purpose, what they cared about, and how these values would influence how they treated each other.


These values become your team’s blueprint. Make sure to reference these values as often as possible so that they stick in your team’s approach. Joie ensured this by incorporating the values into feedback conversations, team meetings, and new employee onboarding. Collective values and mission creates a cohesive, focused team with clear expectations.


DON’T LET STRESS STOP YOU FROM SUPPORTING EACH OTHER


Even the most amazing colleagues can become challenging teammates in times of stress. When we feel pressured to make a deadline, we can become critical and demanding of our teammates rather than supportive of them. It’s easy to focus on making the client happy while forgetting the importance of treating your colleagues with professionalism and living your team’s values. Joie reminds us that it’s in these high-pressured situations when we most need to refer back to our core values. This is how we can support each other through stressful times. When colleagues are helping each other, instead of taking it out on one another, it makes getting the job done that much easier.


TEACH YOUR MANAGEMENT TEAM ABOUT MANAGEMENT


Build an ethos of effective management into your organization. Make learning about management part of the expectation for every manager’s professional development. Joie had her management team listen to some of my podcasts and then discuss them. This gave them opportunities to learn and develop shared language and models for people management.


Joie also allocates professional development funds for managers to use towards personal coaching sessions. While managers can play the role of coach to their direct reports, it’s ok to take the pressure off yourself by enabling the managers who report to you to work with a professional coach directly. Coaching advice from someone outside your organization can do wonders for you and your team.


MANAGING PEOPLE IS A PROCESS


The humbling truth about people management is that you’re always learning how to do it better. And your team is always changing. As they grow, they will need new goals, tools, and challenges. This will require you to grow. You’ll need to learn new ways to manage and support people. As the years go on, your organization’s needs may shift. The values you once held dear might need to evolve to stay relevant. So keep learning and growing!


Most of us are thrust into management positions without the faintest idea how to do it. Luckily, this is a growing field and there are now many resources available to help you be a rockstar manager and cultivate a team of rockstar managers. Valuing the importance of management is the first step. Invite your leaders to join you on this learning journey. Build a strong culture where people live the company values every day. Make supporting each other just as important as pleasing a client. And give your team their own opportunities to grow through a professional coach. Because, at the end of the day, it is great managers and a great culture that enables a business to succeed.


KEEP UP WITH JOIE


Get 10% off educational advising or college essay editing from College Prep 360 when you become a member at themodernmanager.com/join.


This article was based on episode 205 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.

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