The recent bHeard survey results found Laura Fletcher to be Advanced's Most Informing Manager.
She joined the company in 2008 as Support Consultant and has since gone on an upward trajectory by taking on a multitude of roles within the business, working her way up to become the Director of Professional Services.
We caught up with Laura a few weeks ago to find out more about her approach towards management, and more importantly how she makes her team tick.
How would you describe your management style?
I guess just being myself really, taking kind of a more personal approach rather than a corporate approach, and then finding the right balance between the two.
Building a relationship with people helps with those more difficult commercially focused questions and messages to deliver.
"Enjoy working with Laura. She's hard working, direct and let’s you do your job. Can’t ask for more from a manager." - Virginio Basile, Professional Services
What is the best part about being a manager?
One of the most rewarding aspects of management is being able to watch people progress and succeed within the organisation. Watching people that have maybe started in a similar position to what I did and work their way through the organisation.
It's very gratifying for me to know that I’ve had a hand in helping them do that, and have been able to shape their development, helping to mentor them along the way.
How do you ensure that your team remain motivated?
I make sure that I have regular one to ones with my direct reports. I try to make sure that I inform them of any changes or decisions; anything that’s coming down the chain ahead of time.
I think its important to make sure that everyone in the team understands what that journey looks like and how we’re going to get there together. At the end of the day, they don’t work for me, we all work together. We’re all just a team of people that’ve all got goals to achieve.
"Laura is and always has been supportive of me and progressing my career within Advanced. She allows me to manage my own workload, without micro managing me, but equally is always willing and able to assist me when i'm struggling and need help. She pushes me to be the best I can be and I've learnt so much since moving into Professional Services thanks to Laura's guidance and support. Thanks Laura!" - Kristina Amaira, Project Management Team Leader
What is the most challenging aspect of being a manager?
I think the most challenging part in managing people is probably time. Having the time to dedicate to each individual area, as each one has its own demands and challenges.
It’s about having enough time to spread around and make sure that I’m keeping up to date with each area.
I like to spend time with new managers in the team to make sure that they’re up to speed with everything and that I’m giving them as much time as possible to develop in their new roles.
What are your ambitions for the future?
What I think my focus for the next year is going to be making sure that we’ve got a good team of people in place.
Another one of my main targets is making sure that we that we manage to retain those people and that we’ve got a good team that people want to work and stay in.
Because we’ve got that team ethos and team mentality which I think we maybe didn’t have previously prior to me taking on that role.
"It’s only been a few weeks that I’ve reported into Laura, but what I would say is that she never shy’s away from a challenge." - Anon
How would you describe the culture within Advanced?
Some people have had long tenures with the business – some have been here for around 40 years. So, we’ve got those really good relationships: you know where you need to go if you're struggling and there’s always people that are willing to help you out within the business.
I think that we’ve got a really good culture within the team that I’m currently working in, as well the organisation in general. As a division we’ve got a really good team ethos.
How do you ensure that everyone in the team feels supported?
It’s about just having conversations with your team. You know I talk to them all the time; my team know that they can come to me whenever they need anything.
I’m always there and will always make the time; I think that is key aspect, making the time for people so that they feel supported, and they feel like I care about what they’re up to and if they’ve got a problem that I’m there to help.
And I guess just helping them keep on track with what it is that they need to be doing really.
How has your management had to adapt since the pandemic?
What we’ve had to do with being more remote is being more conscious of people.
When you’re in an office people are around you: when you’re not and everybody’s working from home, you’ve got to be making a conscious effort to speak to people and make sure that you’re checking in with them to see how they're doing.
So, I constantly make sure that I’m in contact with the team all the time really. Making sure that I'm putting the effort in to keep in touch with them via teams or on calls every day.
What advice would you give to somebody looking to get into management?
The thing that's worked for me with management has always been making that conscious effort to get to know people: to be able to understand them and their personalities, how they differ, what they like/don't like, and what they need support with.
That for me is the key to getting the best out of people.