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Agency Leadership

From account manager to people manager – 4 principles

By November 22, 2012 No Comments

You leave your boss not your job

According to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development 8 out of 10 managers think their staff are satisfied with them and yet only 58{3e234da05fbbdc43a47fef4bb820620bdc41c4d21ad7649eedb08be0e65da68e} of their staff agree. This suggests many bosses have an inflated opinion of their management skills.

If you’re gainfully employed I’m sure at one time or another in your career it has crossed your mind to leave your job because you’re not getting on with your boss. The saying goes ‘you leave your boss you don’t leave your job’.

But what happens when you are the one managing others? How do you ensure that your team don’t end up leaving because of you and your bad management skills?

The skills you learn and hone over the years as an account manager are not the same set of skills you need when you start managing people.

People management is a skill that needs to be mastered and practiced just as any other.

So if you are managing others right now or are looking to move to a position with line management responsibility, make sure you review these basic principles of people management:

1. Inspire and set goals

Let people know what the company (or team) goals are e.g. Reaching a sales target? Improving the agency’s customer service evaluation score? Increasing agency’s profitability? Reaching a growth target? Winning an award?

Example for how to make this happen in the agency:

Agency leaders – Communicate your agency’s financial targets and how you’re tracking

Account managers – Get your team together and share your forecast targets

Communicate your goals enthusiastically and authentically.

2. Involve your team in the vision

Get your team’s feedback on the goals. Let them contribute ideas for how you can achieve them together. Ask the team what they could do differently or better in their own roles to help reach the goals.

Example for how to make this happen in the agency:

Agency leaders – Share the goals in an all-agency meeting, run an interactive session with the team and capture their ideas for making the goals happen. Ensure these ideas are incorporated into the plan.

Account managers – Explain how the forecast works, highlight the targets for account growth as well as unidentified new business targets, ask for ideas for how the targets can be reached.

3. Establish a plan and identify actions

Once the goals have been discussed and agreed. Develop a plan for achieving them. The plan should be broken down into specific actions. Ask the team to come up with these actions, they will then feel part of the plan rather than having a plan forced upon them.

Example for how to make this happen in the agency:

Agency leaders – Take the ideas generated from the last workshop session and brief small teams to come up with an action plan to present to the wider agency.

Account managers – Ask the team to come up with strategic plans for each client identifying specific opportunities to grow the existing business with corresponding actions.

4. Review performance and provide feedback

Once the team is busy carrying out the actions detailed in the plan, check in regularly, see how they are progressing and provide encouragement, positive feedback and input where needed.

This doesn’t mean take over or micro-manage them. This is a waste of your time and a motivation killer for the team.

Each person will have a different ability level when it comes to carrying out a task. To get the best out of them you need to adjust your management style e.g. the less familiar they are with the task, the more directional you need to be. The more familiar they are with the task, the less you need to instruct. You can simply guide and support.

So how did you find the transition from Account Manager to people manager? Can you add more principles to this list?