No-one said that being in the professions would be easy! However, when you get to manager in a practice you get given the equivalent of a ‘hospital pass’. On the one hand you need to keep your clients and partner happy. Then you also need to keep your team happy and motivated, often by asking them to do the impossible. Add in the complicating factors that often your team are not always in the same office as you, and can be a pretty diverse bunch of people. It is the dilemma that pretty much every manager or director in a professional services firm faces. (We also explore this problem in Part 4 of The Go-To Expert) It is also a tough one to solve. Here are some thoughts I put down on an email to someone who signed up to our professional’s kitbag and asked me this question.
1. Regular communication is key
When I was working in a partnership the staff really valued a partner or manager taking the time out to see how they were doing. Basically, they knew that time = money, so any partner/manager taking the time to spend time with them was a positive boost.
2. Schedule regular one-on-one meetings with your team
Whilst you may not be able to actively help your team members achieve their deadlines, taking the time to see how they are doing, and help them prioritise, may just be what they are needing. It also may help you stay in touch and in control of the workflow going through your team.
3. Show your appreciation for what they are doing
Very often just a thank you, or appreciation for the effort that your team are putting in is all that is required.
4. Unite your team behind a common purpose
This isn’t always easy, but if you can get your team motivated by a common purpose, it becomes easier to lead and manage them.