I’m a nosey parker.

But thankfully for you this blog isn’t about my curtain twitching habits. It’s about my (healthy) obsession with people and how watching different personalities, learning and management styles over the years gave me the knowledge and skills to build and lead a winning team.

I’m of the mind-set that we own our own destiny and apply that view with 3 simple rules:

1) You exist to support your manager. By asking your manager ‘how can I support you?’, you’re actually opening up the door to more responsibility, new challenges and the opportunity to develop. And if you get it right, you’ll become their wing man. Winning.
2) Champion feedback. No matter how far up the tree you get, you can always be better. Make time for this as its easily put aside and yet it’s so valuable to help you learn about the shadow you cast.
3) Build relationships. From the shop floor to the exec, make sure people know you and what you do. Learn to manage upwards and sideways before you manage people. It will give you the much needed experiences of working with different personalities and learning styles before you’re actually responsible for someones day-to-day work life.

Ok, so how does this all relate to building and being a part of a winning team?

George Bradt of forbes.com describes the difference between leading and managing people as follows: leaders influence, managers direct. Of course the lines will blur at times, but the primary takeout from my own experience is this: people respond to strong leaders and the autonomy to make their own decisions and set their own course for success.

Coming from a long stint in a large organisation before joining Pace, I had the support of many senior mentors, backed up by a robust HR department and Performance Management policy. All of which I used to develop my own leadership style and of course, a strong, capable team well respected around the business.

So when I decided to make the jump into agency life, I questioned whether I would be able to carry that previous success into a smaller business without all that ergonomic support.

My concerns were unfounded.

Strong leadership isn’t about a fancy policy, performance management schema or a rigorous recruitment process. It’s about a way of working that allows individuals to flourish in their own way. It’s about letting the most junior member of the team take responsibility for something. It’s about giving others the chance to step up and make mistakes. It’s about celebrating each others success and giving your team the tools to develop but encouraging them to own it. It’s about backing off when you sense you’re getting too involved.

But number one, it’s about surrounding yourself with people that are better than you.

I’m lucky to be working in an industry I love and I’m even luckier to be working with a bunch of people that inspire me every day.

We want to be the best agency to work for – which is why we’ve created our own rules.


Hire people better than you

It’s impossible for any one person to keep abreast of every single industry trend because the world has quite frankly gone mad. The chaps at Smart Insights reckon there are now over 120 content delivery and marketing channels to manage. A winning team will comprise of people from all walks of life, with a breadth of talent, experiences and specialisms.

Take time out

It’s easy for creative teams to get bogged down with high volumes of work. Set aside time away from the desks to just “create”. Share briefs with everyone.

Dedicate time to development

It’s easy for creative teams to get bogged down with high volumes of work. Set aside time away from the desks to just “create”. Share briefs with everyone.

Do your 1-2-1s in the pub

Ok, I’m not saying every 1-2-1 should be in the boozer, but now and again we’ll sit on the grass or pop to Minerva for a beer. It helps the team to relax and open up about what they need help with.

Celebrate success together

We shout from the bloody rooftops when someone has done a good job. It’s not a cheese-fest of clapping and ‘woohoos’ – but a genuine approach to being thankful for hard work and recognising that it takes a team to achieve great things.

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