Joanna Gaudoin of Inside Out Image Limited: 5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team
Get to know people’s strengths so you can best deploy their skills and abilities. Often people enjoy what they are good at most and therefore do better at it. I had one client whose team member wasn’t stepping up to the tasks of his role. I worked with her so she built the relationship with him, understanding how he felt about his role. This meant she understood what he was really good at and could get him to focus on using those skills. Where he did need to continue with elements he felt less good at, she worked out a plan with him to support his development in those areas. People can get very demotivated if they feel they are constantly struggling and misunderstood — nobody benefits from that situation.
As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a large team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Joanna Gaudoin.
Joanna Gaudoin helps bright, knowledgeable people with great technical skills and experience improve their non-technical skills, so they can progress their careers and boost their firm’s performance.
During her former corporate career in marketing and consultancy, Joanna realised that being successful involved skills that weren’t being developed or talked about.
These ‘other’ professional skills involve knowing how to manage your own Personal Impact and how to effectively build relationships, both internally and externally.
She has run her business Inside Out Image Limited for over a decade and has worked with thousands of people, both individually and in group sessions. She is the author of Getting On: Making work work which looks at the key skills and career elements individuals need to work on to navigate working life effectively and progress their careers.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I grew up just outside London and had a very happy childhood in a loving and supportive family with my parents and sister — together with various family cats — as well as having close relationships with my grandparents. I enjoyed school and particularly enjoyed languages and geography.
Workwise, I’d done a range of jobs from the age of nine which included working at a small plant nursery, moving stock at a local shop, delivering weekly newspapers and working in the fashion accessories department of Debenhams department store.
I studied International Management & French at university which included a year in Brussels working for a recruitment consultancy and a summer as an intern at Barclays.
My first ‘proper job’ was as a marketing graduate at the large US company Kimberly-Clark — the glamourous world of toilet roll and nappies!
After three years working in their French and UK offices, I moved into consultancy, working for the marketing analytics division of a large media agency. The people were fun, and I met my now husband in that role. I enjoyed working with big brands to make sure our analytical insights were aligned with the goals of their brand strategy.
I then moved into Commercial Due Diligence — helping PE houses and others assess potential target purchase companies. However, I missed the interaction with people, and took a redundancy offer in 2009. I returned to marketing consultancy and worked on some interesting brands, looking at their marketing effectiveness — but I still felt I hadn’t found the best role for my strengths, skills and interests.
So, much to the surprise of all my family and friends, I started work with a Career Transition Coach, leaving my corporate role part way through that process. I spent my time thinking about what was next, doing some contract work for a former employer and volunteering for a Christian charity focused on development work in Africa.
What to do next came from a series of events and is a long story! I trained in autumn 2011 in personal impact and related skills and started my business Inside Out Image shortly afterwards. If you had told me even in early 2011 that I would run my own business I wouldn’t have believed you! I became a limited company in 2018.
In the decade or so since I started my business, it has changed a great deal. But the two essential elements I defined during my coaching have always been there — to help people develop and grow and for every day to be different.
In that time, I got married and now live in South-West London. I spend a lot of time in London for work, particularly the city, but also travel around the country and sometimes further afield.
I love the work I do, helping bright, knowledgeable people, predominantly in Professional and Financial Services work on their non-technical skills which are pivotal to career and company success. I have the joy of working with people in-depth one-to-one, speaking at events and running seminars, masterclasses and workshops on a range of topics.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
There have been many but an unusual one was when I spent a week on a photoshoot with Labrador puppies when we were capturing images for the Andrex brand calendar, during my time at Kimberly-Clark — these puppies are the brand icon. A lot of chicken juice was used to get them to interact with different items!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
It’s not a funny one and I suppose not really a mistake but it’s so important to get the help you need, especially when something is not your skillset — even if it costs money! If I look back at some of the ‘marketing’ I created in terms of documents for events and emails, they were pretty dire. I now have a trusted range of people that I can ask to develop these things for me. It’s important I do this not only for the expertise but from the perspective of using my time well.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on the best way to retain great talent today?
This is so true, people don’t quit their organisations, they leave the people. That can be because of people’s behaviour or the ways of working they have put in place — or both.
Making people feel valued is important — and it’s about more than telling them they are great at everything all the time. It means listening to them and valuing their input, which involves showing interest in it. Fundamentally, we need to make time to build relationships with others. This often feels hard when we are busy, but it is an investment.
Having a culture of openness and engaging with others also helps a great deal. If people feel happy and content with their working environment, they are more likely to stay. We are people, not robots, and being emotionally intelligent is so important when dealing with others. This all starts with considering how we as individuals engage with others and come across to them — building our self-awareness. One other key component of emotional intelligence is showing empathy for others — being able to see their perspective — you might not necessarily agree, but your will have shown understanding.
Finally, having career conversations with individuals so they feel there is interest in their development and that they have a future in the organisation. And of course, where appropriate providing the right support and development to help them progress.
How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?
- Have a strong culture.
- Make time for the team to connect outside of work tasks.
- Encourage them to build relationships with one another.
- Role model positive behaviours including feedback, openness, positive work habits and time management, relationship building and communication.
- Agree how hybrid working will operate, if relevant. Make sure everybody feels heard.
Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”. (Please share a story or example for each, Ideally an example from your experience)
It is so important to consider your role as a manager and not just ‘fall’ into it. Many people get promoted due to their technical abilities or knowledge and take on management responsibilities without any training. Unless someone has great innate abilities, has had a good role model or development support, they are unlikely to be a good manager. This is fundamental for the satisfaction and productivity of the team. My top 5 tips:
- Get to know people’s strengths so you can best deploy their skills and abilities. Often people enjoy what they are good at most and therefore do better at it. I had one client whose team member wasn’t stepping up to the tasks of his role. I worked with her so she built the relationship with him, understanding how he felt about his role. This meant she understood what he was really good at and could get him to focus on using those skills. Where he did need to continue with elements he felt less good at, she worked out a plan with him to support his development in those areas. People can get very demotivated if they feel they are constantly struggling and misunderstood — nobody benefits from that situation.
- Make sure people are clear what the team is there to achieve overall and what their part is in that. They need to have very clear expectations of what they need to deliver. In this regard, it can be helpful to consider how you and the people you manage respond to expectations. I had a client whose team member would constantly question her when she asked him to do something — it was pretty draining. I suggested she do Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz to understand how she responds to inner (her own) expectations and outer ones (those of others) to know herself but also to think about her team member. It was very clear to her when she looked into this that he was a Questioner. This meant it was natural for him to want to know why he was doing something and to have as much context as possible. He wasn’t just being challenging all the time; he was someone that met inner expectations well but not outer. Therefore he needed to understand why he was being asked to do something to make it an inner expectation and get it done. In the future, I suggested my client provide more context and rationale upfront to avoid so many questions which would also help her feel more positive about their interactions.
- Consider others’ working styles and how best to communicate with them. If you know your team member isn’t at their best first thing in the morning, then wherever possible avoid having a key conversation with them then. Agree with them how best to communicate with one another, especially in a hybrid working environment. Be open to questions and providing support but agree how this is to happen so you don’t get a constant flow of emails or calls if that doesn’t suit you. During the pandemic, I had some senior clients who were getting called and disturbed constantly and others whose teams suddenly had no questions. Both have negative consequences in terms of relationships with your team so agree communication frequency and method.
- Give feedback and praise. Always make sure individuals get credit for the work they have done, both directly and in front of others, and provide feedback regularly not just in annual reviews. If people get used to an open and transparent feedback culture this will help their development. It also means the feedback is likely to be clearer as it is more recent, and they can recall the situation. I have so many clients come to me with vague feedback they have received and want to act upon — one example “My boss says I lack presence”. This is so unhelpful — we can all interpret that in some way but it is ambiguous and unclear. In which situations? With whom? Are there particular behaviours which contribute? Make sure you give clear feedback that people can act upon.
- Trust people with new and different tasks. This involves taking a risk sometimes but, with the right communication and agreement of check-in points and support, it is really important for everyone’s time management and development. People are often more motivated when they are trusted too. Tasks should always be done by the most junior level possible, so an organisation’s people resources are used effectively and everyone has the opportunity to grow and develop. I had a client who struggled to trust others and delegate, so we worked on him trying to do this bit by bit and arranging check-in points by either time period or when the person reached a certain point so both of them were sure he was on the right track. That trust and time investment to support him meant that next time that person could easily pick up that task, do it effectively and free up my client’s time.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
- Spend time with them.
- Focus on building trust including trusting them to do new things.
- Make time to talk about their career steps and development.
- Foster a positive team and company culture.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would probably be out of a job but I believe that more of the skills I work with clients on should be taught and developed in schools. Otherwise, it is only those with innate abilities or parents who role model these skills well who get to start at least partially equipped with non-technical skills. Technical skills and knowledge alone are insufficient for career progression and for an organisation to perform well — engagement with others both internally and externally is key. We cannot work and achieve alone. It might be something I work on when I step back, in later life from some of the work I currently do.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“You can’t build a network when you need one.” I use this a lot in my workshops about building relationships. I think before I knew it, I have always naturally applied it. I have always been good at staying in touch with people. Some of my closest friends are from school, so some friendships are 30+ years old.
Staying in touch with my network in terms of my business is pivotal; a lot of the work I deliver now is the result of networking over a decade ago. We can’t do life alone, we are interdependent on others, both personally and professionally.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Sign up for my newsletter on my website.
Thank you for these great insights, and for the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success.