How to Be an Awesome Manager

June 25, 2015

How to Be an Awesome Manager

June 25, 2015

Group Gordon’s Keith Barnish recommends four essential tips to follow to guarantee a successful manager-managee relationship. 6.25.15

Inspired by last week’s post offering tips for starting out in PR and recent articles relating to the perils of mean bosses, I began to reflect on my own first experiences being managed and managing someone else. Whether you’re a veteran manager or managing an intern or a new hire for the first time, keep these four tips in mind to be an awesome boss.

1) Over-communicate

Communication is key for any team to function effectively and efficiently. Set expectations for communication early with your new team member.

Too often, interns and new hires flounder with a task for fear of asking their managers a “dumb” question. Don’t assume that your newbie has any prior knowledge. And regardless of how amazing you think the directions you gave are, plan to explain again, and again, and maybe even one more time.

PR is a deadline-driven industry, so be proactive about checking in to identify confusion early. Ask “how is the project going?” or “do you need some help with that?” well before the deadline. If you don’t, you’ll be kicking yourself when your client calls and you have to explain why the memo you said they’d have by COB isn’t ready.


Schedule formal weekly check-ins, but check in far more frequently than that. And let the person you’re managing know that your door is always open – and mean it. Being open and approachable is the foundation of a strong manager-managee relationship.


2) Provide TOO Much Feedback

You probably didn’t master riding a bike on your first try, and your newest team members may not master that press release on their first, second, or even tenth try either. What comes naturally to you after years of experience might not come as naturally to them.

Provide as much feedback on each assignment or task as possible, even if it’s a few days after the task’s completion, and when possible, give your newbie the opportunity to take your feedback and try again. Feedback is essential in order for your newbie to learn, grow, and take on more meaningful tasks in the future. If you invest the effort now, you’ll have a reliable helper for more high-level tasks down the line.

3) Put the Puzzle Pieces Together

Make sure the person you’re managing understands how each task fits into the bigger picture. That media audit might seem boring without context, but understanding the valuable insight it provides about your client and how it informs the overall communications strategy can make it less monotonous.

It’s important to explain to your intern or new hire how every task is benefiting the team, your client, and the company. Then, there will be a greater chance they will be more engaged with their tasks, even the most tedious ones.

4) Make an Investment

It’s easy and, for most, it’s your first instinct to delegate administrative work. While administrative work is an important part of any entry-level role, try to blend in more meaningful work as well.

Get to know your intern or new hire. Learn their strengths, weaknesses, and interests. You might find out that although they’re in a traditional PR role, they have a knack for social media. Find ways to incorporate social media into the tasks they are already doing, even if it’s just for practice.

Being a manager is about more than just getting what you need out of your newbie; it’s about learning what they want to get out of their experience, as well, and investing the time and energy to them grow professionally.

Managing a new member of the team can be challenging, especially for a first-time manager. To do it well, it requires the manager to invest time, patience, and support. Follow the tips above, and both you and your new charge can make the most of your time together.