Building a Strong Team as a Photographer/Artist

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Christmas has long since passed, but for those of you who work for other managers, I’m curious how many of you wondered if your boss was going to be any better than than Clark Griswald’s!  (If you haven’t seen National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – go rent it.  It’s a classic!)

But this morning’s blog isn’t about keeping things in perspective from an employee point of view.  It’s about those things you can do as a manager to make sure your appreciation is out there all year long!  Being a great manager is about building a strong team. It’s about empathy, listening skills and remembering how you like to be treated yourself.

  • If you’re the only employee in your company, you still have a team of people helping you build the business. The people at your lab, album company, framer, staff at associations you belong to, tech support at manufacturers of the products you use, even your UPS guy are all helping to watch your back.  Treat them with the respect they deserve and good things will come back to you over and over again.
  • Remember your people are your most valuable resource. 
  • Communicate with the people who work directly for you.  Whether good news or bad, talk to them and allow them to be involved.
  • It’s a sign of strength, not weakness when you ask your staff to help with solutions.  They’re on the front line every day and often have a perspective you don’t.
  • Accept that you might be wrong sometimes.  In my Rangefinder/WPPI days I always knew when at least two of my staff disagreed with me I was probably wrong and it was time to back off.
  • Don’t be afraid to change directions. Being in business today demands flexibility and you might need to completely change directions in order to reach your goals.
  • Encourage your staff to come up with new ideas and then let them run with them.  Creativity has to be nurtured and it can’t be supported and grow in an environment that’s stifled or has a threat of ridicule.
  • Leave your frustrations in life at home.  You need to work to develop a healthy work environment.
  • Most important of all: Listen, listen, listen – to your staff, to your customers and to your heart.
“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example- and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.”
Rupert Murdoch
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