MANAGEMENT

An organisation’s culture is the personality of a company. It integrates and to some extent controls the behaviour of its employees. More, it often reminds them of the relationships between all parties involved. But, behind the shared ethos, values, ideology, and practices lies a powerful driving force for an organisation – the management style, one aligned with the company’s strategy and vision. A successful manager is someone who thoroughly understands that environment, communicates it and, therefore, successfully manifests it through the actions of their teams.

Coordinating and organising are at the heart of my management role which, by nature, focuses on achieving company goals, standing by decisions, actions, and the overall wellbeing of managed projects. On that journey, I utilise human and non-human resources – managing risks, coordinating budgets, evaluating tasks, arranging them in order, then matching right people with right tools, tasks and projects, in an inspiring manner.

Certain management styles and situations require clear expectations for what, when and how things should be done. But other tap more into the leadership side of things – providing support to the team by recognising and addressing weak links. This could require communicating extra requirements, supplying training, accessing feedback, providing rewards, hiring new team members, or setting up direction. In contrary to leadership and mentoring however, management mostly remains an analytical job – following systems and procedures, monitoring budgets and scopes, scheduling and delegating tasks, coordinating resources, planning and prioritising steps, tracking data and performance.

My job is also about problems – discovering new ones, supporting someone with an existing one, or solving them. Here, sound judgements are particularly vital, and sometimes they may require my ability to renew myself, to inspect and change quickly in a dynamic environment while delivering value – essential in certain companies, industries and markets. Is it in yours? What kind of manager may you need?

Growing the Creative Team at Duesday, 2018

“Paula is a full-stack creative genius who joined Duesday at the very beginning. She was pivotal in all aspects of our visual and user experience design and grew an award winning team around her delivering for all parts of the business. As UX Director, Paula drove numerous task-based initiatives and user-research projects, and as Team Lead and member of the Senior Management Team she guided seven staff throughout her time at Duesday. Paula is a team player with a keen appetite for company strategy and management.”

Marcus Kern, CEO

CASE STUDY

Duesday is a payment solution provider for businesses. Recurring payments, payment gateways, reporting tools, and POS solutions are their main offering. Despite being still a fairly small startup, its mission goes far. Duesday aims to transform the world of payments by turning them into relationships – with innovation and automation, and eventually reformation of the way we all use payments in our everyday lives.

To manage all that, different key teams were set up – Finance, Sales, Technology and Creative, with the latter championing user experience, design, marketing, user support and community management, with me as a lead.

As UX Director, I built my team from scratch by reading and responding to growing needs of the business. The team was changing its shape and size over the time, however the key figures I recruited were: Graphic Designer, eventually growing into the Senior Digital Designer role, two Marketing Executives, one after another, Junior UX/UI Designer, and Product Manager/Owner. I also supervised all internships and work placements. Our team worked closely with Technology and Sales, and in times of need with the founders too.

A big chunk of my job was building a strong team and helping them work efficiently by providing sufficient information or knowledge, and removing obstacles from their way, so that they can focus on their craft the best they can. At the same time, I was an active member of the Senior Management Team and helped to introduce various changes across the business from safety policies to employee appraisals. In weekly meetings, we would decide on next steps for the business, particularly short-term priorities, to update our teams afterwards. With this came scheduling and prioritising of tasks and projects and assigning them to members of the team, and beyond, with tools such as Asana and Jira, as well as direct communication.

“What are Paula’s top character strengths? Organisation and coordination. She is a machine when it comes to getting stuff in order. She helps everything run much smoother. Always approachable and happy to give feedback.”

Anonymous Duesday employee

Balancing three aspects of my work – user experience, leadership and management – became a real skill as the list of responsibilities was growing rapidly, and I learnt to swiftly switch between them. I’d forecast trends for our core products, monitor their performance and plan for future changes, with an occasional hands-on design. While, within the team, I was managing our dynamic workflow, communicating decisions or facilitating group workshops, giving instructions or delegating, checking task completion and evaluating project progress. I enjoyed clarifying company objectives and priorities, and working towards minimisation of confusion, uncertainty, risks and waste. I regularly led design workshops, reviews, sign-off sessions and presentations – inside and outside the office.

It was an analytical, rational, data-driven role, which, at the same time, included a human aspect as I had to focus on people and how they are led. Achieving company goals can’t be everything in a healthy growing business, wellbeing of the team matters too. Familiar with best communication practices, I introduced regular one-on-one performance reviews to the company. That’s when we could exchange feedback, talk about progress of the team and individual, explore favourite aspects of a role and any challenges it brings, as well plan for future growth of an individual and their role. With deep interest in coaching in my early years, I enjoy investing in people and seeing them becoming the best version of themselves, regardless of me being accountable for their output or not. And so, I spent extra time on building a high team morale, its integrity, and work environment.

PROJECTDuesday
ROLEUX Director
CLIENTDuesday, 2017-2020