A practical guide for sergeants of digital agencies: 14 rules

The usual such a normal conversation between an employee and a “sergeant” of a digital agency at a weekly meeting. Nuance: steep employee at steep “sergeant.”

To continue not to pull the cat for intrigue: but who is a “sergeant”? I like this definition, but in general, there are many alternatives. Lead / Senior / Senior Specialist. Team leader. Supervisor. Timlider. This is the lowest level of the leader. The person who stands between the “normal” middle manager and the employees themselves. Sometimes the same “normal” manager does the same job – then he is not only a “lieutenant”¬† but also a “sergeant” in one person.

Whatever you call it, the “sergeant” is the person with whom the employees interact. The one who ensures that the work went as it should. Praises and scolds. Sometimes it even has financial instruments of influence.

So that’s it.

  • This is an article for “sergeants”. Basically and in the first place. To understand how you can build a job so that it moves forward. Without your constant participation in the heap of tasks.
  • This article and for project managers. To understand when you can expect the result from the unit that performs part of the project.
  • And this article for employees. Those same people whose hands and heads just ensure the success of projects. Or failure. To understand how work can be organized. A look from the inside and a little from above.

Probably, somewhere in the world, there are companies that consist exclusively of project managers. Ideal in some kind of structure, when there is only one role – a very intelligent and competent organizer, who is engaged in pure project management. It is he who finds contractors for specific tasks, coordinates their work and makes friends with the client’s requirements. I’m even almost sure that there are such companies. However, I will not lie, I have not seen it.

And I saw another approach, also devilishly good in practice. When there are units that are sharpened for specific tasks: conduct contextual advertising, design interfaces, write texts, analyze campaigns, refine the site, and so on. And there are, in addition to these units, project managers (they are also PM) who are free to attract the right people for a particular project.

And in this structure, there is an interesting point. Someone will say “hole”, but I will say “feature”. On the one hand, the PM is responsible for project success. On the other hand, he does not answer for the work of the experts themselves, and not always is competent in it – the “sergeant” of the corresponding unit is engaged in this. The PM becomes, in fact, an internal customer who rents, more often partially, less often completely, the working time of specialists for his project.

And why the hell do you need a “sergeant”?

There is a darkness of answers to this question about management theories. I answer it this way: “sergeant” is needed to ensure in the shortest possible time its uselessness in the current tasks. To build it all this way, when the work is working without his constant participation.

Simply put, its task is to create optimal conditions for the work of employees. For their conscious, independent and useful work.

And immediately put off the rose-colored glasses: this does not mean that one day the “sergeant” will not have to work. Still, as it is necessary. In order for people to be given back, people must be invested. Constantly. Just from working as a robot-distributor of tasks and people, this scheme allows you to move to work with people. People, not tasks.

The rules below are not a spherical example in a vacuum. They are applicable in life, they are effective, they have been realized many times.

I would like to draw your particular attention to the fact that there is nothing about money in the list of rules below. Because, with rare exceptions, the “sergeant” does not take any special decisions on money.

So, let’s go.

The title for those who do not read the opening to the articles: “meat” begins here

1. Follow the example.

Whatever you do with co-workers, they will still look like a leader in many ways. At least at work. People tend to follow the example, and this is one of the best known to me traits that are characteristic of people.

In doing so, do not confuse the example and the ideal. Being an ideal for a manager is damn tedious and time-consuming: your triple check in case of “whatever happens” will devour all the time that is in the project and not under your paranoia was assigned. It is worth to strive for excellence, but at the same time to live in the real world. If you know your own shortcomings and know, at the expense of what advantages they overlap, this is much more useful. Such an example will allow people to be more flexible and tolerant of both colleagues and themselves.

And by the way, the need to set an example does not mean that you do not have the right to make a mistake. All are mistaken. Not everyone can recognize that a) it was a mistake; b) that it was their mistake The ability to show, again, a personal example of how to deal with one’s own mistakes, is of far greater value than visibility – even successful – of their complete absence.

2. Ask the direction of work.

A person who does not know why the hell he is doing his job will hardly do it with bestowal. Knowing your own value in the project and understanding what exactly depends on it gives a better and more stable result. This knowledge gives the possibility of self-diagnosis: an employee can always realize, and not a garbage he does – if he understands what “no bullshit” is.

3. Develop and teach.

Comments are superfluous, perhaps. Refine only one point: it is not necessary that you personally teach everything to everyone. It is quite possible to find a way to give a person knowledge from other sources: books, courses, personal communication with experts. Your task can be reduced to the fact that you allow an employee to develop during working hours in an interesting and necessary direction. And yes, it involves cutting out time for these tasks and protracted battles with PM, which always need more resources for the same money. But this is your job.

4. Grow and maintain an understanding of responsibility.

“I’m responsible for this” = “I ensure that it happens as it should”. Not “they will punish me if anything goes wrong.” Not “I get paid for it.” Not “my last name is in the appendix to the contract with the client”.

Responsibility must be formulated and firmly hammered into the subcortex. Including yours. The responsible employee is not necessarily the one who solves all the problems. It is rather someone who understands the need for your participation in time and attracts you until trouble happens.

And yes, it greatly simplifies the control and speeds up the work. Do not think of being an “effective manager” and keep in mind all the information on projects in which your employees are involved. All the same does not fit. And if it suddenly gets in and it becomes obvious – prepare that all your work will be reduced to answers to endless letters, information on which is only in your head.

5. Protect yourself from external threats.

The only manager who can prescribe loyalty to an employee is his supervisor. Strike this rule firmly in your head, your people, involved in the PM and the heads of related units.

Even if someone has put the entire database of the project, and it is known that your man did it, you gain a full chest of air, put on armored underpants and go for it to blow. If you feel that things will not end well, then go alone or with your leader. But only then, when you have cooled down and sewn up a hole in your underpants, then on a personal conversation you communicate with him in accordance with the misconduct and prescribe penance.

An employee who, like Barsik at the entrance, can be kicked by any passing power, is a shanny, uninitiated and deeply unhappy man. Even gosh with it, with the efficiency of working in the project in such circumstances. Just yourself can be respected in such conditions?

6. Allow being mistaken.

If there were no mistakes in the process of evolution, we would at best move the pseudopods in a cozy warm ocean at the best. Approximately the same is the case with the evolution of the consciousness of a particular person.

Each valuable shot has so many skeletons in the closet that they will be enough for an empty middle-grave cemetery. And this is also normal. On foreign cones do not learn, because only their own is hurt. The task of the manager is to control the cones with the help of control, where it does not damage the whole work. Ideally – where there is a margin on the timing and resource for their correction.

And it is worthwhile to understand that mistakes do not always arise because of the dilapidation and lack of diligence. Tired, sick, distracted – and, oh, hello, cant. Do not blow every fly through the causal place to the size of a solid moralizing elephant. Sometimes you just need to help quickly and send to live on.

7. Do not scold mistakes.

However hard it may be. Completely unbearable – go to the toilet and pooris in the booth. And then return to your place and consider the situation calmly.

If an employee understands what he has minted, only after the “carpet”, so-so of your manager. This means: the employee does not understand what he is responsible for and what he should do. It is enough for an adequately tuned person to point out the presence of an error – and he will prescribe a penalty for heaven himself and will try not to do so in the future. Because he understands the consequences of the jamb.

It is also worthwhile to understand that mistakes are being made by all, and no control will catch 100%. It’s sad, but it’s normal. And then to waste energy on abuse, it is better to tell how you can correct a mistake, or if it’s too late to rush, how to smooth its consequences.

8. Do not overdo it with visible control.

If the work is going on solely from the kick – something goes wrong. Control, of course, needed. But it is necessary to organize it as imperceptibly as possible.

If you accustom people to obvious total control, this dilutes the responsibility. The jamb will be perceived not as a miscalculation of an employee, but as a failure of your control. And yes, your fault is there anyway. But you’ll get a bump yourself, not your man.

9. Pay it off.

Joint drinking will not harm the case, but it’s not about them.

The best that really unites people, that is, teach them to unite their forces for the best result, is a common and important task for all. The feasible task for them, which is typical. The possibility of cross-sharing of experiences in a circle of your kind is a nehily engine of progress. And the common tasks are an excellent ground for necessary and correct conversations. Not communicating regularly on work topics, not understanding the methods and pains of each other, employees can get along fine in the kitchen and arrange the features that are inside the project. And at the same time sincerely do not understand what the problem is: “We communicate well …”

10. Change the intensity of the work.

Work at a monotonous pace covers even the brightest heads with dust and mold. It’s great if the work goes without your participation on the principle “it’s thick, it’s empty”. This, though, enrages the fans of time management, but it gives the brains both periodic periods of relaxation, and a regular high load that will not let them become stiff. It is important: not to be confused with the principle of “then thickly, then very thickly, then thicker than the new” Fairy “. This is no longer a brain training, it is his work to wear.

11. Listen to this.

Just sit down and work as a regular psychologist from time to time. Yes, it is difficult, yes, it does not always help. But it gives people the opportunity to release steam and at least relax a little, which is priceless. And you, perhaps, it will give valuable information about the current capabilities of the person and the risks on his part.

12. Ask their opinion and consider it.

Your people will never grow taller than you if everything happens in your way. You are not the navel of the Earth and even hardly a genius, humble yourself. Allow people to work on their schemes if this is not critical for the project. And even if it’s critical – take a closer look: maybe it’s not your people, but the project is crookedly planned?

13. Grow your own replacement.

The laws of social dynamics cannot be deceived. As soon as you step back from the routine, someone starts to take the lead in her raking. Often even without realizing it. Find this person and prepare him for him to take your place. And then, if for some reason you leave the current place, you will be sure: the results of your work will not fall apart. They will be picked up by someone.

14. Yes, just humanly treat people.

The task of the head – in time to find out from the employee the maturing problem of any kind, to support and help. Or find someone who will help. Even the coolest employee can not always cope with the influx of difficulties, and there is nothing shameful in this either for him or for you. In the end, including for this help, you are paid money.

In conclusion

Dear “sergeants”. In your hands, there is power, and not so small if it is properly disposed of. And yes, it’s enough to make the world more effective, and without you, it’s fucking wanting. You can make it not just more efficient, but a bit better – at least for your employees.

Dear PM. If you diagnosed a problem in one of the units you need, do not try to brazenly plug the hole with your body. You have one body, and it is intended for other matters. It is better to meet with the “sergeant”, outline the problem and help him solve it. In advanced cases, go to his supervisor.

Dear employees. You Nicki and all can. Good leaders to you and seven feet under the shovel in difficult situations. Layfak: if a good leader is not visible on your horizon, nobody prevents you from becoming such a leader.

And if that: I read the comments on my articles, to this one as well. There is something to object or add – write, I will answer all.


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