How to be a manager in PR

Managing people at work for the first time can be daunting. In the PR world, you face time pressures, constant changes and deadlines. So how do you stay on top of all of it all while taking on the role of a manager for the first time?

As a comms consultant specialising in Science PR at a B2B PR agency, TopLine Comms in London, I’ve recently taken on a management role. Here’s what I’ve learnt so far.

Listen to people

First, congratulations! If you’ve been given a promotion and the role of a line manager/project manager, you’re obviously doing all of the right things and are trusted to help others develop their skills.

My biggest tip for success is to make sure you’re really communicating well with both your team and your clients. Talk to everyone that you’re line managing individually and ask them how they’re getting on, what they’re enjoying and what they might need help with. Don’t just hear them, listen to them. Take in what they’re saying rather than just listen passively. Then you can think about how to address any issues raised and give them feedback.

Book in regular meetings

You want your team to know you care about their work and them as individuals. By checking in and following up with them after meetings, you keep the communication flowing. This allows you to spot potential issues before they can escalate.

In terms of managing projects, clear communication is also vital - your job is to delegate efficiently and make it clear what everyone’s role is on the new project. Then make sure to check in daily on how people are getting on so that you can update the client weekly on progress.

Regular client catch ups are also a must – quarterly strategy reviews provide a great opportunity for both you and the client to give feedback on how you think things are going. This also gives you a chance to fix anything the client isn’t happy with by the next meeting.

Take advice from your manager

Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice in your new role, especially from your own manager. Think about what qualities in your manager you really value, and try to portray these things in your own management style both with team members and clients. Also have a think about managers you’ve had in the past that you didn’t rate highly. It’s important to actively avoid management tactics that you don’t think work.

Management isn’t easy, but it’s a skill that worth taking the time to work on. If you can get the most out of your team, you’ll all produce better work.

Written by Jodie Brazier, comms consultant at agency TopLine Comms

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