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How to Manage People: Find the line between professionalism and friendly communication

How to Manage People: Find the line between professionalism and friendly communication

by Wishu
25 January 2021
As freelancers, we have only ourselves to brand our freelance business and services. This means we are our own mini businesses and the more advanced we become in our freelance careers, the more we will be expected to take on managerial positions. For example, if you advance as a freelance fashion stylist, you will employ assistant stylists at some point in your career. For creative directors, managing a team of creatives comes with the job title. In this article, we will unpack how to find that line between professionalism and friendly communication as you take on a more managerial chapter in your career. 

Picture by Tyler Spangler

Step 1: Take on Managerial Styles you have admired
Look back on your career. Were you ever under the influence of someone in a managerial role? If so, which did a good job coaching and motivating you? If you are still in contact with these people maybe ask them for some advice.  
 
Step 2: Set Some Boundaries
Of course, being kind and friendly should be applied to any relationship you need to build in life. However, a sense of over familiarity might make it difficult to have a tough conversation when you need to. The person in question may feel as if you have turned on them when you need to perhaps review an aspect of their work-style which may be having a negative impact on a project. 
 
Step 3: Communicate!
While messaging platforms such as Whatsapp, Email and more are great for providing updates, don’t underestimate the power of face-to-face communication be that via Zoom or in person. Making time for a daily meeting – even just a 15 minute one – is a great way to check in with whoever you are working with and also enables you to go over a clear agenda in a short time frame. Preferably, send them an agenda for the day beforehand and ask if they understood everything or if they need to go over anything that isn’t clear to them. This reassures you that they understand what is required from them and reassures you that the job will be completed properly. 
 
Step 4: Give Feedback
This is a continuation from the importance of communication but in order to develop a mutual language between yourself and who is working for you, regular reactions to their work is essential. If they do a great job, tell them, if you’re not happy with them, organise a call or a zoom (tone of voice is key) to unpack what went wrong and how they can prevent it from happening again. 
 
Step 5: Admit when you’re Wrong 
On the flip side, you don’t need to appear invulnerable. Learning to admit when you’re wrong will help build trust in the long term and make your creative team/assistant feel listened to. 


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