How Katelin Butler went from being 'one of the team' to leading it
One of the biggest challenges faced by new managers can be the shift from working in a team of friends to taking on more responsibility as a leader.
Katelin Butler faced that challenge when she was promoted to editorial director after 13 years at publishing house Architecture Media and eight years as the editor of Houses magazine.
"I was the person who got in there and made one of our magazines, working alongside a team of friends. Now I'm the person who leads that team," she says.
Katelin took both her relationships with colleagues and her new responsibilities seriously, so she decided to work on the confidence, management and decision-making skills she needed to be an effective leader.
"I wanted a smooth transition into the role, so I decided to enrol in the New Leaders Development Program at Melbourne Business School to prepare for the road ahead," she says.
The program taught Katelin how to interact with people with different styles and personalities, think strategically, keep a team functioning smoothly and give constructive feedback.
"We were taught about the value of constructive feedback – which starts with identifying the situation, what the behaviour of your team member was and how it impacted on the business.
Katelin particularly valued learning about the Myers-Briggs personality types, which allowed her to better understand how to manage a diverse team.
"Learning about the personality types was helpful. I'm already interested in psychology, so understanding how to work out other people's personality types was very helpful in my new role," she says.
"It's really useful to know who's an introvert, for example, so you can make sure to give them some time to think and respond."
Katelin learned a lot about her own strengths and weaknesses on the program as well.
"I was quite apprehensive about the need to be entrepreneurial, take risks and make many more decisions in my new role. During the one-on-one business coaching session, I was assured that this would come with confidence and that I just needed to focus on getting everything else right first," she says.
"The Skillscope 360 survey showed that my strength is in building relationships with others, which reminded me to make sure I stay an active listener and that my team feels heard."
Since completing the program, Katelin says she's become more effective at delegating and thinking strategically.
"I'm still really keen to gain confidence in my role. There's quite a bit of public profile associated with being an editorial director, so it's important for people to see I have credibility and to come to me with new projects and ideas."
In 2018, Katelin was on jury for the Australian Institute of Architects’ National Architecture Awards, which required her to travel around Australia visiting a wide range of buildings and locations.
"I got to discuss opinions and thoughts on the buildings we visited with some of the most intelligent people in the industry. It was a phenomenal experience and a part of my career growth that I'd like to continue," she says.
Stepping into a management role isn't all glitz and glamour. Katelin says she needs to keep fit to sustain herself for the busy times ahead.
"Looking after myself is a priority. That means spending quality time with my family, friends and exercising regularly. I actually go to the gym at lunchtimes to reset myself for the afternoon.
"My advice to people looking to step up into a new role is that it's all about perseverance. Don’t give up! Enjoy your achievements by reflecting on them. It's really important."
If you're planning the next step in your career, learn more about the New Leaders Development Program or view our full range of Executive Education programs.