Tips from Team Leads: “Faking it with your direct reports usually doesn’t end well.”

Tips from Team Leads: “Faking it with your direct reports usually doesn’t end well.”

We all want to work better. In this series, we speak to leaders in various industries about how they tackle the trials and tribulations of managing a team.

As the Marketing Director for Conair’s Beauty Accessory division, Solen Marie Rose oversees a team of five who source and produce everything from the latest hair straighteners to makeup brushes and travel bags. With a background in cosmetics (her beauty cabinet is worthy of a magazine spread) and consumer package goods, she understands how to read market trends and translate that into an appealing product. But understanding how to manage a team is something she’s had to learn, luckily she’s had the better part of a decade to work on it.

Tell us about your team
I manage a team of product managers who are in charge of maintaining our product database from beginning to end. That means everything from sourcing new products, to creating new packaging, importing the products into Canada, and looking after any and all client requests.

What’s been one of your biggest challenges as a manager? Allocating time to listen is always a challenge, especially when you’re also trying to get your own job done. It’s a permanent balancing act.

What are some signs that your team needs extra attention and motivation? For me, it’s about trying not to get to that point. We set up weekly task lists to help make it easier for the team to prioritize and stay focused. It’s also a way for me to ensure communication is always open, control their workload and be more reactive in my decisions when I need to be.

What are some of the most successful things you’ve done to help motivate your team? Sharing the bigger picture. As a director you’re privy to multiple levels of information that, when shared strategically, can put your team’s work in perspective and make their tasks more relatable. It also helps them to better understand the company and its goals as a whole.

How do you keep your team engaged? I have an open office policy and try to be constantly available. I’m also genuinely interested in my teammates, what they do at work but also outside of work. I also like to inspire or challenge them by sharing stories, podcasts and articles on wider work-related topics—like the an article on the achievements of women in business or a report on an aspirational company’s business practices.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from being a manager?
Be yourself and admit it when you don’t have an answer to their questions. Faking it with your direct reports usually doesn’t end well. Letting them know that you’re looking for solution is much more constructive and will build healthier, long-term relationships with your team.

What motivates you in your role? Being involved with multiple internal departments like creative and buying and getting to meet and work with both manufacturers and international clients. It teaches you to understand different perspectives and I love learning this way.

Want to nominate a totally rad boss for this feature? Let us know!

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