At FORM, we put a critical focus on embodying our core values: innovation, integrity, teamwork, accountability, and customer focus. And someone who embodies all five of these values is Bri Newhart, our VP of Human Resources. Bri joined the FORM team in October 2021 and has been a phenomenal asset to the organization.
Bri was recently featured in an article by BuiltIn, one of Colorado’s top job sites, to share her views on her leadership style and her philosophies on management and building invaluable relationships with team members in her own department and throughout the entire organization.
How would you describe your management style?
I don’t think I have just one management style. I believe a good leader’s management style can and should evolve over time. For example, if someone on my team is experiencing self-doubt or another barrier that is creating a cloud for them, walking them through it and pointing them to facts and context can help clear that cloud.
It’s not always about providing the answers; sometimes it’s simply encouraging team members to think it through and guiding them to the answers they already have. In today’s remote working environment, it’s especially important to have a coachlike manager who can act as a sounding board when needed.
How does an effective manager know when to stand back and be hands-off, or take a more hands-on approach with direct reports?
By knowing each individual on a more personal level, you can more easily tell when you’re interfering and making things harder for them, or when they visibly need more support from you.
I love having diverse teams with different backgrounds and strengths coming together. When you have a diverse team, it’s crucial to get to know each individual personally. Knowing their unique situation — whether it’s work styles, family and home life, or hobbies and interests — allows you to be more agile and specific in how you approach them. That agility can create a team where everyone feels safe, comfortable, and respected.
What can a new manager start doing right now to help become a better manager?
Begin to get to know your team on multiple levels. Ask them pointed questions: What was their high and low for the week? What do they value? What motivates and demotivates them? All of these small conversations can help you learn more about each individual and can help you to guide them in their career.
In addition to understanding your team, it’s also important to understand your own communication style and what you need. It’s important to recognize that even as a manager you can have high moments and low moments. No one is infallible.
Know that your management style doesn’t have to be one thing and can change over time. It can even change daily based on team goals and business objectives. The important thing is having the emotional intelligence to recognize and understand your own values — as well as those of your team and company — and to adapt your management style and techniques accordingly.
Bri has been an invaluable asset in not only unifying the global FORM team and driving a people-first culture, but also in creating an encouraging and growth-oriented culture within her own team.