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Career advice

Don’t Tell Your Team What to Do, Show Them

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by Christina Sclavos

5 months ago

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“You’re a teller - you tell people what you want them to do.”

This is the response I received when I asked my Director for feedback on my management style. Brutally honest? Maybe so, but necessary for me to hear.

The past 18 months in my role as Branch Manager left me feeling super chuffed! We hit many milestones, both as individual consultants and as a team, all whilst reidentifying our office’s culture (arguably one of the hardest tasks to accomplish in business in my opinion!). Today, we are a fresh, eager and growing team. My focus now is to continue developing and coaching our consultants.

In the recruitment world as a consultant, learning on the job and sharing feedback across the desk is a regular part of your day, as is the case with numerous other business sectors. Throughout my career, I have worked with many new to the industry consultants that I have been able to coach whilst running my own desk. They have shadowed me - my interviews, client meetings and various calls, learning along the way (just as I did as a bright-eyed graduate all those years ago!). However, without running my own desk anymore, I have found it more challenging to show trainees how to handle certain circumstances. I have subconsciously resorted to telling them what to do in hairy candidate or client situations. The problem with this is, it is not a long term or sustainable solution AND the consultant will not learn or grow.

The lessons I have learnt may help you, if and when, you have to manage your own team. Asking the right questions and unpacking scenarios with your team member is a more collaborative and consultative method of solving problems and crafting solutions. Instilling confidence in your team and telling them that you back their ability to make that difficult call or to present at that new client meeting is paramount to that individual’s development. This process will infuse learning.

And so, I, Christina Sclavos, going forward from this day on vow to stop telling and start asking questions!

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