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Stepping into management

As I embark on the next phase of my career at BCL I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the last few months, my journey so far, and the new (but exciting) challenges that lie ahead.

As of next week I will be managing BCLs newest recruit. Since becoming a managing associate I have mentored a number of new consultants in the business, however it is the first time I will have managed someone in an official capacity (lucky them!). It is a known fact that management is not for everyone, so I thought I would explore what makes a good manager, what makes certain people want to do it, and others not so much?

According to Forbes, there are 6 main attributes that are important in making a good manager – being open to new ways of looking at things, expecting excellence (not sure I entirely agree with this one), making sure employees know where they need to focus, protecting your own time, communicating regularly by providing meaningful feedback in real time and not ducking conflict but dealing with it directly and fairly. All in all yes I agree with all of the above. Being a good communicator – yes of course that’s important, but it goes so much beyond that. How does your employee like to be spoken to? Do they like short and sweet instructions, or detailed point by point directions? How do they like to be praised, do they even like to be praised, or is a quick pat on the back enough by way of reward and then its time to move on?

A brilliant book for new managers to read is Nigel Risner’s “It’s a zoo around here”. It splits people into 4 different animal categories – lion, elephant, monkey and dolphin. Each person doesn’t necessarily fit into one particular category, you can be a cross between two, three, or even all four (me I think!), but it offers a fascinating insight into how us humans (or animals as the case may be) like to be spoken to, how we speak, how we like to receive instruction, how we like to be rewarded, and how we like to be told off.

For me, entering into management for the first time is a completely new experience, but you know what… I’m ready. The management training program at BCL is very much personalised to each manager to ascertain how you as person can draw on your own experience to manage someone effectively. For new starters, the induction and training programmes are so comprehensive and detailed that no stone is left unturned. If you stick to the formula, it works. I’ll report back in a few months!

For more information, please contact Rozie Hunter at BCL Legal.

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