Management… It can be at any level, whether you’re a head PA with the responsibility to look after the rest of the PAs, whether on a set or an office, a Production Coordinator or a Floormanager, a Producer, a Director… A studio suit at any level. Essentially anyone who has to look after other staff and, inevitably, face up to someone else for all that staff’s ups and downs.
It’s a tricky one, management. Of people. It’s just like walking into a classroom. You’re never going to get along with everyone. And some people you’ll bond with instantly. You’ll want to share secrets with some and others you just don’t think are quite cut out for the work OR swapping water cooler stories with. Frankly, it is neither here nor there whether you’ll be best friends. You have to be able to click and sync while working together, as with any relationship. You don’t have to fall in everlasting love, it may as well be just a quick fling. But the fling has to work. You’ve gotta make sure it doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life, especially anything important. You have to make sure they keep to their side of the deal.
You are responsible for their efficiency at the end of the day, for training them up and making sure they utilise their time in the best possible way. That tasks you assign to them get done adequately (and far beyond, let’s face it, the media business defines competitive!). You’ve also (!) gotta make sure you don’t let ‘them’ affect your career in a negative manner. They’re there to boost the work AND you (by making you look awesome with your kickass management skills and the ensuing efficiency).
Too friendly? Suddenly it’s difficult to set boundaries, tell them off. Too distant? You’re the bitchy boss with unrealistic demands.
The ever fickle middle ground then. You have to make sure the performance levels stay top-notch while looking after your career prospects and bettering your skills as a manager. Part of this is also learning to teach. Making sure you learn how to spot good quality staff, and how to train them to a) be the most they can be (more efficiency for you, the job, and positives for them), b) feel secure in their job and circumstances (so they feel okay about coming to you with the important questions AND (and this is vital) to fess up when things risk going really wrong. Other times they should feel comfortable enough to make decisions to sort out their own messes without interrupting too much of your already busy schedule, and it’ll grow loyalty both ways). And c) so that they and you grow and further each other on the career ladder, and you grow a loyal and high performing network to utilise later on…
The best situation is of course trying to spot the perfect match at the interview stage, but quite often there isn’t enough time for that.
Phew, there we go. Lots to be added so feel free, but that would be the basics. Key is, remember you are still the one who needs to teach, you can’t just expect them to automatically pick up telepathy and sort the tasks (they should, but, hey, can’t have it all). And you’ve gotta look after yourself… You are the boss lady… Just don’t forget you’ve probably got a boss too!!