At the base of every great PR agency is the management team who facilitates success from the bottom up. Without strong, effective leadership, communication, and direction, most agencies would be hard-pressed to stay in business for long. Gallup estimates that the quality of managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units. With that said, here are three components necessary to improve your management skills.
Team members need autonomy
True leaders empower others. This is why I believe it’s important to give ownership opportunities to each of your account execs. Autonomy increases team members’ ability to both make decisions and be accountable for their own actions – good or bad. When employees know their actions and ideas truly make a difference to their company, they are more invested and motivated to contribute their best work, and they take more pride in their accomplishments. Introducing shared leadership models will also help sustain the business as a whole, ensuring so that knowledge, expertise and agency structures are not solely dependent upon one person. After all, an agency needs to function positively and profitably, regardless of the near-constant client, employee and industry changes so common to agency life.
Open communication increases efficiency
I believe in being transparent with my team because it allows for better relational engagement; which in turn produces better performance. An open relationship between a manager and her staff builds trust, which invites more honest feedback which improves everyone’s workday and allows issues to be addressed quickly and efficiently. It’s important to let your team know that you truly care about their thoughts and that their voices matter. Different voices create diverse perspectives when it comes to each client, project, and task. Every team member brings something different to the table and a bundle of distinct ideas is better because each client is unique, and one style does not fit all.
Introducing shared leadership models will also help sustain the business as a whole, ensuring so that knowledge, expertise and agency structures are not solely dependent upon one person.
Trust is a two-way street
You can do anything, but not everything. As a manager, you need to focus at least some of your time on team dynamics, individual performance and agency planning, and this means shifting away from being involved in every tiny aspect of a client’s retainer. Delegation not only deepens that all important trust factor by showing your team members that you value their competence but will improve productivity. As the CEO and founder of BLND Public Relations, there are a lot of things that need to be done constantly — like taking care of the back-end of the business, problem-solving issues and making myself visible and accessible to all out clients. I always keep in mind that there are only 24 hours in a day and only one of me. Delegation helps my team and me to make the most of each day, which produces big results in the end.
While every business is different and there isn’t one magic formula that makes every team thrive, take time to analyze the best way to increase engagement and communication with your team. While it can be tempting to put management to the wayside in order to keep up with business and media opportunities, a strong, committed and thriving team will help to ensure your agency’s long-term growth.