Letter from Managers: I vs We

Hi, I am a 25-year-old marketing manager with an experience of 4 years in marketing. I’m leading a team of 7 crazy lunatics at Vasitum, and that’s what I want to talk about, teams. It can be hard to put a team together, but when you spend the time and effort to build a good team, you’ll see how beneficial a well-coordinated team can be.

I have seen my team members extend their office hours when our campaigns get media attention and the workload skyrocketed.

The team set and meet their targets at their own terms, yet the productivity had risen over 20% m.o.m. (Yeah, that’s more than what Microsoft achieved having four days working week from 5.)

Building A Team

The key to building a great team is, of course, to hire the right people. Not necessarily people with good track records or degrees from top institutes but people who are craving to learn and innovate. People who can follow your style of leadership and are obedient not because they deter to differ but because they trust you. 

As I pen this down, I remember the interviews I had conducted before I finally decided to go ahead with these people. Our team is not too big, and the subdivisions within are led by one person alone. 

Our graphic designer has picked up skills of a UI/UX designer because of the fluidity in roles and participation here. I knew from the start that my team members didn’t have to be experts in their fields. They had to be good at what they did, but more importantly, they had to have the zeal about doing what they said they were passionate about.

The other divisions, like social media and branding, also consist of independent individuals.

And I’m not too crazy about fancy degrees, achievements or experience, but for me what makes the deal interesting, is the pure, raw passion. Our content writer, for instance, didn’t come with the relevant degree or experience in writing, but his passion to write, aspiration to learn and evolve as a writer is more than enough for me to work with him.

Channelising the team’s collective energy into a productive force can sometimes be challenging, but I enjoy taking on the challenge. And although the journey so far hasn’t been easy, we like to compete with ourselves and beat our own records. After a healthy learning curve as a marketing team, we are’ seeing extremely positive results. We’re being featured on platforms, and our campaigns are going viral without taking any hits on our marketing budgets, that’s how meticulously planned our tasks have become.

Accountability and Responsibility

I’d like all of my teammates to be responsible at their levels. A good practice is to create a transparent reporting mechanism to make sure everyone knows when the red flag is up and discuss strategies to rectify it. If things go south then you have to be the one to face the heat from the bosses up above.

Because my responsibilities and roles state that I’m to act as a link between the company’s vision and the team’s productive capacity, I have to clarify the vision of the company to my teammates, so they know what they’re working towards. 

This way, members stay aware of the pressure there is on the entire team. So we keep pushing each other to take collective responsibility, and when one makes a mistake, all of us work to rectify it.

I, as a leader, also have to make sure that my team gets their due credit. So, if our CEO calls to congratulate us on our campaign being covered on some platforms and tells me that I’ve done a great job, It’s almost instinctive to straighten out that it wasn’t me, it was us.

Because marketing, or any corporate function, is not a single person’s task, it’s a lot of people working very hard and closely in sync.

Manage work not people

How the team approaches their work is totally on them. In the end, it’s about delivery and whether the team can function smoothly. The team’s method of achieving targets is not my worry, and the best I can do, when a teammate asks for my help, is genuinely assist and motivate them.

With their style of working, comes their conditions in which they work the best. The most common problem is the working hours, the first thing to accept is that almost none of your teammates will be working 100% of the time in their daily routine. They need to take the time to cool off and kick back for two big, BIG reasons:

So that they always have the mental capacity to keep new and fresh ideas flowing

If they have fun at the office, they won’t hide it (and maybe include me in their fun activities, too)

Maintaining a progressive, energetic, and creative environment is necessary for an efficient work environment and for you to be upbeat to perform your role. Keeping the team on their toes and have off-beat ideas running in the back of our heads while we perform everyday tasks is what I think turns a team into a tribe; a system based on loyalty and trust.

Calling my team my family would be a bit too far because unconditional love for our families can cloud judgement and stop us from making smart decisions. This brings to the last function of a successful manager.

Don’t Fire People, Relieve them!

Arguably the most crucial task that managers do is handling relieving from the team. It’s a painful process that can profoundly affect the members. But if you do it right, even a decision to relieve someone can be useful for both sides. 

There’s nothing worse than making this decision impulsively or based on one or a few instances. Firing someone has several aspects, all of which need to be deeply understood and on the basis of these parameters, you can start planning a relieving strategy for them. First off, if you’re thinking of letting someone go, keep the thought in your mind for a week or two. This tells you if it was something you felt in that moment or it was an objective perspective.

Relieving a team member means a lot of recovery for the team as well, physically and emotionally. There are the responsibilities which need to be transferred, but the bond between all of us as a team is deeply affected. That’s why I feel companies need to take relieving more seriously and understand the impact on their employees. It’s a delicate change for teams that require a robust and sincere amount of discussion and thought. Also, the trust between employees and management gets shaken with such a move.

In Conclusion

The corporate world has a bad reputation, and that I realized is because of incompetence in management. Such managers do get the work done but at what cost?