How to manage people for the first time

Leadership does not come naturally for everyone, but anyone can learn how to become a leader.

Photo by Brooke Lark from

By: Casey Bell

There is a first for everything. The first time you manage other people tends to happen much later than your other firsts though, especially when you professionally manage people.

“My main motivation is to know that we make our clients happy.”

There is a difference between your first time being a leader and your first time having to manage others in a professional setting. I recently learned this. Leadership and management are incredibly difficult, especially if you are an introvert or an ambivert, a word I use to describe my own personality type. However, leadership is only the first step toward learning how to manage people.

I have held a couple of leadership roles prior to my current role as Art Director at Tehama Group Communications. These roles include: student council publicity director and tennis team co-captain. However, these roles took place in middle school and high school. With this said, I have had to re-learn how to fulfill a leadership role because I am neither a natural-born leader nor a public relations specialist. Fake it until you make it though, right?

As Art Director, I am responsible for the oversight of our agency’s creative team. I monitor each photographer, videographer and graphic designer’s creative tasks, and I lead the the creative critique process, where all of the members of the creative team meet to review each other’s work. Throughout this meeting, we provide negative and positive feedback after each creative team member presents concepts. The purpose of this critique session is for the creative team to improve the content we produce for our clients via collaboration.

My most important role during the creative meeting is to maintain a positive and productive work environment for everyone. I do not like to waste time, but I also make sure that my team members get an adequate amount of feedback. This is so important because feedback aids the creative process in that it can incorporate new ideas into a product in order to finalize ideas in a fresh way for the client. Ultimately, this is what makes our agency’s clients happy. Creativity evolves constantly, so there is power in a discussion about the different ways we all see a design with a group of people who are passionate about creativity.

My main motivation is to know that we make our clients happy. A client who is pleased with the content produced is one of the sweetest sights to see, and this is the result of hard work put in by the entire creative team.

Due to the newness of this position, I still have yet to discover my favorite way to manage my team. What I have learned so far is that I do not like to micromanage people because I know that everyone has their own life with certain priorities. What matters most is that the creatives are on the same page with their clients. As long as they deliver creative content to their clients by the due date established by their clients, there is no need for micromanagement. It is important to have faith in people and to let them decide what to do with your confidence in them. Hopefully, this confidence is spread all around.

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