Five Bite-Size Insights on Managing People

We’ve focussed on online marketing and business tips recently and thought we’d come back out of the virtual world, at least for a moment, to bring you this very down-to-earth piece about people management, by Behance. Click here to view the article on the OPEN Forum website, or scroll down.

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When we chat with business owners and creatives, “people management” consistently emerges as the task with which leaders struggle the most. It’s easy to understand why – little in our schooling prepares us for the delicate task of fostering a balanced team chemistry, learning to share ownership of projects generously, or restraining our own perfectionism so that others might make the mistakes necessary to learn and grow.

To share some of the insights that we hear from business and creative leaders, we’ve collected a few quotes that express some of the most common – but also hard-won – lessons learned about managing people.

1.Trust, trust, trust

As chef David Chang, founder of the Momofuku restaurant mini-empire in New York, puts it: “Cooking is the easy part, and managing people is the difficult part… The most important thing is to trust the people you put in a charge.” Letting go of certain tasks is always a struggle, but learning to trust your team members to do their jobs is essential for efficiency and scalability.

2. Keep people focused on their area of expertise

When we chatted with CollegeHumor.com Editor-in-Chief Ricky Van Veen, he attributed nearly all of the site’s success to hiring good people, and keeping their job focus simple – each person does what they’re good at. Van Veen: “I try to isolate [the editorial team] as much as possible. Their goal is just to be funny. If they’re worrying about marketing and sales, they’re not going to be as funny.”

3. Create a culture that exercises restraint in idea generation

Contrary to popular belief, the ability to generate lots of really great ideas doesn’t fuel successful businesses. Rather, it’s a knack for whittling down to the best ideas and focusing on execution. As Sam Valenti IV, founder of record label Ghostly International, says, “I’ve been trying to push myself and our team to brutalize ideas before they even make it to the discussion table. We have to ask ourselves: Are our ideas working towards our goals, and do they reflect who we are?”

4. Hire people who are passionate about their work

If you’re doing something that you love, says Current TV founding host, Jason Silva, “The difference between your work time and your play time is irrelevant. The more you can blur those things, the less you ever feel like you’re really working – and also [he adds with a laugh], the more time you’ll have to work.”

5. Remember to have fun

Probably the most oft-forgotten advice about people management is remembering to enjoy yourself even as you keep your eye on the prize. Jason Little, Creative Director at Landor Associates, stresses the importance of keeping the mood light. “One of the driving forces for me in the studio is the idea that it should be fun. When I think of when things have been at their best, designing has never felt like work. It was simply turning up to the same place every day, dressed in your own personal style, to chat and joke with friends, learn continually, listen to music and all the while do this thing we love called design.”

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What do you think? How do you motivate and manage your staff?

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