5 ways to improve your people skills in PR
Too many PR agencies continue to take a dismissive approach when it comes to managing people.
Good consultants might get promoted as a result of retaining clients, bringing in new business, or delivering great results from the accounts they work on. Once they’ve been promoted, they’re often expected to replicate that success among junior team members, usually with little or no training or understanding of how to get the best out of people.
Poor management can lead to employees feeling frustrated or lacking direction. It can diminish relationships in the office, create an unpleasant working environment, and reduce the effectiveness and success of the organization.
Here are five tips that can make the difference between being a great manager and one who just muddles through:
- Understand how much guidance your team members need.
If you’re not sure whether you’re being too controlling with your team members, or if they need you to be more specific and precise when setting objectives, ask them. They’ll let you know whether they’d prefer a different way of working.
- Give your team the opportunity to get new experiences.
Some agencies take a regimented approach to client management, with younger consultants restricted to desktop research while senior team members go to events and build relationships with clients. This can lead to frustration as junior team members feel they aren’t getting the opportunity to develop professionally. You might think the person you’re managing isn’t quite ready to attend that important meeting or write the next strategy document, but if you don’t let them try, they’ll never learn.
- Don’t be afraid to let your team make mistakes.
If you’ve been in the PR industry for a few years, you probably have tried things that didn’t work. You can impart the wisdom of this experience to your colleagues, but you also must let them make their own mistakes and discover things for themselves.
- Don’t undermine your colleagues in front of others.
If you need to give someone negative feedback about a piece of work, don’t do so in front of their peers. Instead, speak with them privately and discretely. Also, if you and a junior employee have a disagreement about how to do something on an account, keep the discussion between you. Don’t debate it in front of others, or you’ll undermine your own authority.
- Don’t tolerate bad behavior.
Sometimes agencies make bad hires and bring in consultants with a bad or confrontational attitude. There is often a tendency to ignore the situation and hope that things get better on their own. If you have a team member who is dragging everyone down with negative or unpleasant behavior, make an early decision about whether you want to keep them on staff.