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Managing Talent

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Raw Talent Academy Director Lee McQueen shares his management style with Talk Business

People will often say what is the best way to manage? There is no right or wrong style of management. Managing is ultimately about getting results and getting the best value out of your staff, so it is up to each individual to find a style that best suits their business objectives. If a business is not progressing as planned, it is because of one of two things: staff are either not being managed efficiently or they are not performing to the best of their ability. By developing an individual management style that you know is the most effective for you, the source of any problems you encounter should be easy to trace and therefore to address and resolve.

I have found that a great management style is to sit down with your staff and set out goals with them. Concrete goals with a specific financial objective, for example, make it much easier to visualise exactly how you will go about achieving them. Don’t be afraid to share your ambitions with your staff. They have come on board with you precisely so that they can be a part of them and so will want to know exactly what they are aiming for. Talking to them face to face and saying ‘This is how you’re going to contribute to my business’ or ‘This is how your career is going to develop over the next year’ gives them specific individual goals to aim for at the same time as working towards your overall objective. This way, you will be able to judge your business’ progress by looking back to this original conversation and seeing which goals have been reached. If business is not going so well, you will have a concrete base to look back to and work out exactly what needs to be improved on.

I consider myself to be a man manager. I deal with each person differently and decide on the best way to deal with them. A large part of my job is moulding raw talent into successful business people, and no two cases are the same. Some people need to be pushed more than others in the initial stages to make them see their huge potential and show them the importance of following this potential through. Others can be gradually shaped over time, making sure that they are always moving forward. Management works like plate-spinning: once the plates lose momentum they smash on the floor, and, in the same way, a successful company and its staff must always maintain their momentum.

Equally, people have different strengths and weaknesses to build on when developing their management skills. Just as is the case with football managers, some are excellent tacticians and coaches, but are hopeless at managing their team’s egos, whereas others are great at organising their team but need help on the tactical side. A successful manager needs to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses so that they know exactly where they can improve.

People have told me I have an overly friendly approach to managing. Unlike some managers who prefer to make people earn their trust, I tend to trust people from the moment I meet them and leave it up to them to keep that trust, but this is just the approach that works for me. I give people guidance as to how best to go about their work, but I leave it to them to get on and do it. It’s a case of coaching rather than dictating. I like to give people enough freedom to let them find their own feet, but also to provide them with a certain amount of structure by giving them goals and objectives. I believe that asking people how they think they should solve a problem, as opposed to directly suggesting a solution, is a great way to encourage them to develop their own management strategies.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to management. It is about finding the style that will allow you to fulfil your aims and that will ensure that your business moves exactly in the direction you want it to.

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About the Author

Lee McQueen

Lee McQueenRaw Talent Academy Director & BBC Apprentice Winner Connect on Linkedin - http://www.linkedin.com/in/leemcqueen1View all posts by Lee McQueen

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OBA-2015-blackNamed Small Business of the Year 2015

Director Lee McQueen named Young Business Person of the Year 2015