What it takes to lead, not just manage

I still find it weird to say that I have a team. Six months ago the accounts department was made up of only myself and Alecia and now we have recently welcomed Beth and Katie to the team and still actively recruiting to keep pace.

Our accounts department has grown rapidly, and I’m really enjoying all the great things that come from being in a team with 3 fab women, who are doing such amazing jobs every day. This expansion is about more than the ever-increasing numbers of clients whose pensions we look after. It’s also the story of my own development and the faith placed in me to take on additional responsibilities, such as our corporate finances.

I haven’t come from a managerial background, so the complexities of managing a team was new to me. Luckily, TPSG have given all the managers great support throughout. I know that whenever I face a new challenge, I have the full support of my manager, Nat, as well as the other managers at TPSG. I definitely couldn’t do it without the support of the others. PSG also made sure we benefited from industry recognised training with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). We learnt so much about ourselves and what we are capable of over the course of a year expertly guided by L&D Consultant, Sharon Kiley from LiJack Consultancy.

Of course, our learning never stops but we recently completed this invaluable training and I was relieved to pass my Level 3 course. I just wish I could have celebrated becoming a certified associate with the ILM with my colleagues.

Managing the team during a lockdown hasn’t made the learning curve any less steep. We recruited Beth and Katie during a time we weren’t able to visit the office. This meant we didn’t have that initial day to day office talk that’s so crucial for relationship building and team bonding. But, we make sure that every Friday we all down tools, make a hot chocolate, and take 30 minutes out of the day to put this right. We’ve learnt lots about each other, and I feel that we have a team bond that is even stronger than it may have been if we were in the office! (I also learnt that chocolate is the way forward with everyone).

Alongside our Friday catch ups, we make sure we have a quick, more business orientated, call on a Monday to talk about any issues we might have during the week, for example if anyone is off and who can cover their work etc. This helps us to remain connected and functioning as a team, rather than lonely, disparate home workers.

I don’t think I would have gotten through those winter lockdown months without my team and I’m so excited for the future and where their roles will go.

Additionally, we recently completed PDP’s (Personal Development Plans). This is a fab way to see where each member of the team wants to focus their energy in the future, and if and how I can help them to get to where they want to go. Having been with TPSG for several years now, there’s much to feel satisfied by when I look at how far we’ve come and where we’re going, but my favourite part of being a manager, is seeing everyone in my team develop their own roles, and grow with the company.

It’s important to talk

All responsible employers have an interest in the mental wellbeing of their staff and this is certainly very high on my agenda. We try to all be open and actively talk about how we are feeling. This helps us to understand each other’s needs which in turn makes for a healthy, productive team. Remembering to take regular breaks from the screen and going out for walks is also something I actively encourage everyone to do. Make the time and you’ll feel the benefits. Oh and finally, logging off at 5pm and having some chocolate, I can’t overstate how much that helps!


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