This post was written by Vanessa Canas, Executive Assistant to Dev Patnaik and Operations Lead at Jump Associates. You can connect with her directly by commenting on this post or following her on Twitter @miss_v83.

Management advice is not hard to find. Pretty much any person who has a job can give you some sort of advice on how to manage people, or at least, a list of things not to do when managing a team. There are great techniques that can be found all over the web on things you should do, or processes that should be implemented in order to be a successful manager.

The one rule that I continuously use (and don’t see much about elsewhere) is: just be human. It’s quite simple. Treat people the way that you would like to be treated. This is something that my parents engrained in my brain as I was growing up, and it stuck with me all these years to help me throughout my career.

What do I mean? Be a human…that is pretty simple, right? No—not for all people. There are plenty of stories that I can pull from my past of things that my managers did, or how they treated me in front of others that left me with a sour taste in my mouth and thoughts of revenge in my mind. The thing to take away from those incidents is what you’ve learned and how you will grow as a manager yourself because of it.

Since I joined Jump, I saw one position split into two, mentored several team members, picked up the slack after other team members left, took on new roles, and eventually became a manager of a team of 3, all while working in an extremely dynamic environment as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. A lot of what I do on a daily basis of being a leader to my team is listening to them, giving them guidance, and building confidence so that we live out our jobs through trust and respect.

Trust and respect are not things that come easily. You have to earn them. Not only do I have to be able to trust the people I lead, but they have to be able to trust me. Would I want to have a lead like myself? That is a question I ask myself and I can honestly say, yes…I would love to be on my team. Why? What makes my team rock?

In practice, a huge part of being human in management is communication. I tell my team to over communicate, but never under communicate, with me. Don’t leave me guessing why a deadline wasn’t met or why something didn’t get taken care of. Let me know what is going on before I have to ask you. This is hard. This is not the norm for many individuals, but for my team this works like magic.

This being said, there is a time and a place for everything. Have public conversations in public places and make sure you have private conversations behind closed doors. I will never call out a team member on an upset in public—all that does is harm the team dynamic and chip away at the trust you are continuously working on building. Not to mention, it would make me, as a human, look bad. The people I manage are my equals and that is the way I choose to treat them.

Tell your team when they are killin’ it! Say “thank you!” I make sure that I give my team credit for the amazing things that they are doing, big and small. Sometimes it is the little things that make all the difference. Realizing that all of our jobs contribute to the bigger picture of how a company is run is important and my team knows that they make a difference.

Second to perhaps only the CEO, my team comes in contact with more people across a wide variety of specialties and industries than just about anyone else within the organization. From first client contact through Alex, our receptionist, to strategic meetings with the leadership team, my team runs the gamut in terms of who we’re exposed to and what their unique needs are. All of that has given me quite a bit of perspective on how to succeed as a manager.

Management advice may not be hard to find, but it’s often more difficult to find good, actionable advice. That’s even truer in spaces that lie somewhat outside of traditional management circles. By learning not to take for granted your team, the need for learning and growth, and the power of communication, you too can improve your team as a whole.


photo credit: Adam Polselli via photopin cc