If you are a travel advisor and are fortunate enough to move into a management position within your agency, how can you make this transition successfully?
Communicate well, consider taking a leadership course, and don’t let problems simmer. This advice comes from Stephanie Lee, founder of Reviews of host agencieswho addressed the issue a recent episode of the Trade Secrets podcast.
Michelle Henrich, an affiliate of Montecito Village Travel, said she was looking for guidance as she transitioned from travel consultant to office manager.
“I struggle to find a balance between being a friend while also creating and maintaining a leadership role,” Henrich said.
Lee acknowledged that a transition into a leadership role can be difficult and sometimes tricky.
When she moved into a management position, Lee said, the office where she worked at the time didn’t have a handbook with written policies on things like taking time off.
“I don’t know what your situation is, Michelle, but the first thing I would do is build that infrastructure so you can be successful,” Lee said. “Because if things are not communicated clearly to your office team, it will be very difficult for you to manage them when there are no expectations and there is nothing in writing.”
This manual could include a number of things, including family travel expectations, how refunds work, and the agency’s booking process.
A particular set of skills
Managing people comes with its own set of skills, Lee said. It’s something she’s worked on herself over the years and suggested taking a management course. Lee took leadership training with Disney, for example, and found it very useful.
It’s also important for managers to be able to talk to their peers in other leadership positions.
“It’s not great for you to talk to your former front-line colleagues about problems you’re having with other people, so you have to have these other outlets,” Lee said.
Finally, Lee said, issues should always be discussed immediately.
“Discuss issues immediately so expectations are clear,” she said. “It’ll just grow. Usually it doesn’t get better.”
For more advice from Lee on everything from getting started as an advisor to what technologies advisors should be excited about, listen to the episode.