How To Be A Good Crew Boss
Have you ever had a boss that you absolutely despised? Someone unorganized, impatient, and short-sighted?
A quality leader can make or break any business or project. As the boss, you are the face of the team. What your team does reflects on you, and vice-versa. If you’re unorganized, or don’t know your crew, or have no goals, how can you expect to lead anyone anywhere? A leader needs to have many positive qualities in order to be successful.
Get to Know Your People
You don’t need to remember your technician’s great-aunt’s birthday to know them. Learn their strengths, weaknesses, what they enjoy about work and what they don’t, who they work well with, etc. It also doesn’t hurt to get to know them outside of work-themed bullet points. Are they married? Do they have kids? What do they like to do outside of work? Get to know them as human beings, instead of just employees or teammates.
Push The Team
An important part of any job is growth opportunity. Without growth we are stagnant and begin to lose interest in learning. When an employee stops learning, they get bored and their enthusiasm dies, which causes their performance to suffer. Even if you aren’t 100% comfortable letting them do something, let them do it. Watch over them, supervise, make sure they don’t destroy something or kill someone, but let them dive in. Sometimes, being thrown to the wolves is how some of the most valuable learning happens.
This is especially important for young women because they so often tell themselves they aren’t good enough or aren’t ready for something when they are. Each person deserves to learn and grow as a human and as a fellow worker in the industry. With that being said, it’s a fine line between pushing them to succeed and pushing them right off the cliff. Place your team members in situations they can succeed in, not places they’re bound to fail in.
Like all relationships, communication is key. If you don’t efficiently communicate with your team, your leadership means nothing. Part of communicating well has to do with knowing your team, as we discussed before. Some people respond well to straightforward directions (i.e. “go there,” “do this,” “do NOT do that”). Other people need a little bit of an explanation (i.e., “go there because”, “do this while”, “this causes that”). Some people work in an entirely different way. You should know how each of your team members understands tasks best.
Another part of communicating well is listening. Communication is a two-way street, you know! Make sure that you hear your crew, and that they know you are hearing them. Ensure that everyone is comfortable coming to you for a question or advice.
If a crew member needs to know something, or they’ve got a problem with a co-worker, or an outside client is acting disrespectfully, you want to know. You can’t fix or address what you don’t know.
Give your employees the space and the confidence to come forward.
A good leader knows the ultimate goal, the steps needed to attain it, and the timeline in which to accomplish it. If you aren’t organized, things can get out of hand quickly and all of a sudden, there are four different fires you need to put out.
Be comfortable delegating responsibilities for certain tasks to team members or groups, and check their work without micromanaging.
If you know plans have just changed, inform your group and adjust things accordingly. Even if something goes completely haywire, try to remain calm. If the leader starts wigging out, the team is going to lose confidence, as well as wig out. Tackle problems one at a time, take deep breaths and relax as much as possible.
Plans and events change all the time. Be prepared for anything.
Radiate confidence, even if you’re faking it. Seeming confident gives your team confidence. There may be occasions where you get overwhelmed, it happens to the best of us. Simply relax and exude. Tackle problems, go in prepared. Help raise the confidence of your team. Your team is your lifeline, so don’t leave them scared and helpless. You don’t gain confidence overnight. You earn confidence over the course of a career, or life, or job.
Appreciate Your Team
Arguably, the most important part of leadership is showing your appreciation for your team’s hard work. If they know you care and are aware that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, they are much more likely to go that extra mile. Smile and thank them after the show. Tell them they did an excellent job and that you’re proud of the finished product. Do something special for them every once in a while: buy them pizza, get them a ‘Thank You’ card, get them something special during the holidays, buy them a cupcake on their birthday. Even little things like an email showing your gratitude can go a long way. Gratitude is something you don’t realize you need until you aren’t getting it anymore.
If the client is treating them poorly, or your boss is taking something out on you, don’t pass that along to your team. Be the one that rises above and helps make your team better.
It’s easy to take credit when things go well. It’s when things go wrong that bosses can struggle to take ownership of the errors. Your mistakes are your mistakes, and your team’s mistakes also belong to you. When something goes wrong, don’t let it rain down onto your team. You can let them know what went wrong and how to fix it without destroying confidence. It is your responsibility to lead the team to success and to correct it when it is a failure.
All in all, take these tips and be the boss and leader you wished for when you were part of the crew. Good luck!
Article by Sound Girl: Samantha Potter
Published in cooperation with Soundgirls.org
Join TheatreArtLife to access unlimited articles, our global career center, discussion forums, and professional development resource guide. Your investment will help us continue to ignite connections across the globe in live entertainment and build this community for industry professionals. Learn more about our subscription plans.
Love to write or have something to say? Become a contributor with TheatreArtLife. Join our community of industry leaders working in artistic, creative, and technical roles across the globe. Visit our CONTRIBUTE page to learn more or submit an article.