Savage counsel: It’s okay to be a hard taskmaster

Chris SavageIn his monthly Encore column, STW’s Chris Savage answers your career and agency questions. 

Hi Chris,

I recently jumped ship and joined a rival agency and it’s fair to say my reputation precedes me. I suppose you could say I made a name for myself as a hard taskmaster but I’ve done a lot of work in recent years to soften my approach. How can I get my new team to see I’m not the bastard they think I am?

Don’t bother changing anything. Worry less what they think about you: focus more on lifting performance and delivering great results for your new employer.

Reputation is what other people say about you. Character is about what you really are.

Stay true to your course and let your reputation take care of itself in your new company. You need to build a winning culture in your new environment. Winning culture doesn’t come without bloody hard work and sacrifice. So I am all for ‘hard taskmasters’, so long as you set the example, expect nothing of others that you are not prepared to do yourself, and underpin all of this with a genuine care factor for the well-being of all.

But be firm. Set the ground rules. Do not tolerate under-performance. Set high standards and be consistent and relentless in ensuring they are delivered. You will get a big reputation for being a hard taskmaster. But the time your team spends working with you will be the time they remember when they are at the end of their careers as ‘the glory days.’ They will have a blast, as will you.


cover issue 39This feature first appeared in EncoreDownload it now on iPad, iPhone and Android tablet devices.



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