Artwork for podcast The SEO Mindset Podcast
Effective Team Relationship Building for Managers with Gabrio Linari
Episode 51st February 2024 • The SEO Mindset Podcast • Sarah & Tazmin
00:00:00 00:36:50

Share Episode

Shownotes

How can managers build effective relationships with their team and why is it important? Gabrio joins Tazmin on this week's podcast, to share his insights, experience and easy-to-implement strategies.

About Gabrio:

My name is Gabrio Linari; I am Italian and work as Director and Global SEO Consultant for a variety of clients at ROCK SEO, my own company. I live in sunny 🌞 Croatia and work for companies worldwide. I truly relish connecting with people, training individuals in SEO, understanding business challenges, and leveraging my expertise and having fun while doing it. For years, I have followed Shaun T’s Insanity workout regimen, and I continue to train daily. True to its name, the workouts were, in fact, extreme. When not immersed in work, I find solace in leisurely strolls with my canine companion, Rocky, and find a therapeutic sense of calm in cleaning my car after long hours in front of the computer.

Where to find Gabrio:

Gabrio's Website

Gabrio Linari on LinkedIn

About 'The SEO Mindset' Podcast

Build your inner confidence and thrive.

The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that will give you actionable tips, guidance and advice to help you not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Each week we will cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics too including professional and personal development.

Your hosts are Life Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years of experience working in the industry.

Sign up to be a guest on the podcast here.

Get in touch

We'd love to hear from you. We have many ways that you can reach out to us to say hello, ask a question, or suggest a topic for us to discuss on a future episode.

Twitter - @sarahmcduk, @sulemantazmin & @seomindsetpod

Website - https://www.tazminsuleman.com/

Instagram - @tazminsuleman, @sarahmcduk & @seomindsetpod

Email - theseomindsetpodcast@gmail.com

Click here to download your copy of our free 'Growth versus Fixed Mindset' ebook.

Click here to sign up for our newsletter to receive news and updates from the podcast eg latest episodes, events, competitions etc. We will never spam and you can unsubscribe at anytime.

Subscribe and never miss an episode: Listen to The SEO Mindset Podcast

Check all episodes:The SEO Mindset Podcast website

Copyright 2024 Sarah & Tazmin

Mentioned in this episode:

Google Podcasts Discontinued in 2024

Google Podcasts will be discontinued later in 2024. If you use Google Podcasts to listen to our podcasts don't fret, as there's plently of other ways to listen to our podcast. We're available on all podcast apps, or you can use our web player on our website. Follow the links in our show notes to subscribe to an alternative app and never miss new episodes when they're live.

Support the podcast and donate!

If you enjoy the podcast and listening to our episodes, you can support the podcast by donating a coffee via Buy Me A Coffee for as little as £5. If you leave us a message we can also give you a shoutout! Link below!

Buy Me A Coffee

Transcripts

Tazmin:

Hello everyone, and welcome to another episode of the SEO Mindset podcast. Today it is me and a wonderful guest, not me and Sarah as usually here, and we're talking about a really great topic, which is how managers can build a really great relationship with their team members. So although this is focused on what managers can do, I think it's worth everyone listening to it because you will gain some really good advice and skills even if you're not managing a team formally, when you are leading a project or leading a particular campaign, it's really great advice. So before we dive in, just want to remind everyone of if you're enjoying what Sarah and I do, then there are ways that you can support us. There is a usual donation, so buy me a coffee. The link is in the show notes. And then also if you're on what used to be called Twitter, I don't know anybody who likes calling it X, but what was formerly Twitter, we are on there. Hook up, come and talk to us. Tell us about what you enjoy, what you'd like us to create content on, and that would be lovely. The links are in the show notes, so just go and find them and click. But I'm really eager to talk to you about my guest. So today we're talking to Gabrio Linari and he is the director of Rocky's SEO, which is his own organization and also a global SEO consultant for a vast number of clients. He lives in sunny Croatia. I've never been to Croatia, so I'm keen to hear a bit more about it. And he works with companies all around the world. Now, in addition to be extremely passionate about people, training individuals in SEO and understanding the challenges that businesses face, which is what he'll be sharing his insights on today. I also wanted to tell you a little bit about the non SEO Gabrio, and maybe he can tell us a little bit more about this as well. He follows somebody called Sean T's insanity workout regime and even though I don't know anything much about it, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to do it. He trains daily, which is brilliant. On a more leisurely front, he enjoys strolls with his canine companion, Rocky. He finds cleaning his car therapeutic, which I sort of get because I get that therapy from cleaning my kitchen and on to kitchen and cooking. In a previous life, he attended the prestigious Cordon Bleu culinary arts school and had a career as a chef. Gabrio, amazing. Welcome.

Gabrio:

Thank you, Tazmin. Thank you for having me here.

Tazmin:

So tell me a bit about Sean T. What's a normal workout?

Gabrio:

Well it's like a fitness trainer from the US, and he did many of these workouts with different goals, et cetera. A typical workout is like 40, 45 minutes of a high intensity workout of different types. So, yeah, they can be quite challenging and intense.

Tazmin:

Less or more intense than working in a kitchen?

Gabrio:

Well, I would say it's a different ballgame. I mean, this one you have is your own time. You can press pose, but in the kitchen, you cannot press pose. Someone will be shouting at you. So less intense, I would say.

Tazmin:

Is the shouting one of the reasons you decided that that wasn't for you, life as a chef?

Gabrio:

Yeah, one of them. And I soon realized that that type of work, I mean, it's brilliant. And although I love cooking in general, you have to do it when you're a bit younger. I'm not extremely old either, but I think when you're a bit younger, starting up, then you can appreciate, I mean, you can tolerate, let's say, the shouting a bit better. Right. So, yeah, it was a bit too much, but nevertheless, a great experience. And the training also was fun, I have to say.

Tazmin:

Oh, wow. Okay, one more cooking question, then I'll move on to our topic.

Gabrio:

All right.

Tazmin:

Two of your favorite things to cook. One Italian, one non Italian.

Gabrio:

Okay. Italian. It's been a long time. I'm not doing that. One Yoki Yoki dumplings, potato stuff, and non Italian. There is this one called black bean chili quinoa. So it's a mix of these ingredients and actually came from the training of the shanti guy, because together with the trainings, I'm not endorsing anything, but they also have all the cooking meals together, and some are really delicious. So they have nice meals also developed by a chef there. So, yeah, these two are my go to ones, but the gnocchi has been ages, and my wife doesn't like when I do gnocchi because everything gets so messy with flour and stuff. So it's been a long time. I used to be good on that.

Tazmin:

Well, if you decide to make it this weekend, I'm not to blame for the mess in the kitchen. Just telling you.

Gabrio:

Fair enough.

Tazmin:

Anyway, I'm really excited about talking to you on this topic because it's something that people have asked us to record more on, and it's about this role between a manager and their team members. And there's so many intricacies, and it's so amazing when it works right. And when it doesn't, it can lead to bad performance for the individuals and the organization and not to mention all of the impacts it has on mental health of everyone involved. So in your opinion, what are the main responsibilities a manager has towards their team members?

Gabrio:

Great question. Yeah, and I think we can also differentiate a little bit between remote managers and regular managers. So I think for this podcast we mentioned to cover more remote work inside, so I will cover most of that. I do think the most essential thing, I mean, important in general, is being there and listening, but we all know that. So I think at a more practical levels, I think it takes an additional effort as a manager when you have a remote team to manage. Simple as that, because there are some aspects that you must have under control and you need some feedback back from your team in regular intervals, and you don't have those coffee moments at the office where maybe you can grasp how things are going, hey, what did you do this weekend, et cetera, unless you make an additional effort. Right? So in my view, what managers have to do is, again, having a sort of set or semi set framework which they can utilize with their team members, have in place a number of weekly touch points or biweekly touch points, and follow up with their team members in general. This sounds a bit obvious, but I've been in a couple of organizations where this wasn't really structured and I was actually missing from senior managers or my managers, let's say. So I do think that these aspects are quite key. And also, on another note, when we do work remotely, we are so much involved into work, work, and they're missing those, again, more informal times, because we also expect people to be always, okay, click on off. Like a PPC campaign, let's say that you can just jump into the work, and I still think that you can already see that something is missing. And the shift to remote also meant, yeah, productivity is better, but also those moments are missing. So I think where I'm getting it is that what manager should have is balance, in my opinion, in the way he manages the team, plus having a structured approach that helps him with that and have regular check ins with a team member, and then we can go now in different directions. But I think these are my main points that I think are key there.

Tazmin:

I think you're right, because the flow in an organization when you are not working remotely is different. There are those coffee moments walking towards the canteen, walking back from the canteen, where you can have those more informal conversations. But when you're working remotely, you almost need to put in a best practice, contact team member on this time and talk about this thing. In a way, it makes you far more intentional, which could work to your advantage, but you need to put that in place.

Gabrio:

Yeah, that's true. And at the same time, we have time zones. Right. Which are sometimes tricky. So I don't think it's bad checking in any case. And even if it's just slack. I remember one organization I work for, and the slack was work, only work, essentially. There was not much what we call the chitchat. Right. Which, again, I can understand. But then my first impression was, hey, that's missing. And sometimes having a separate channel for just chitchat doesn't even work. So I'm not saying it's simple, because I think every company has specific dynamics. Time zones. Team members are maybe more relaxed. Some are not so relaxed. It's really down to the manager understanding his team and what works and what doesn't. So it requires a little extra effort, I would say. So, yeah. You cannot just apply the same normal ways. In a way, yeah.

Tazmin:

One of the most empowering conversations I had was with one of my managers, and I was new to the organization and had a one to one, and she asked me, what is your motivation? And it really threw me because it was one of my earlier jobs. I wasn't expecting to be asked that. And she had a piece of paper with all of these different types, and I was struggling to answer, and she said, okay, out of these, which ones motivate you and which don't? And it felt as if she was seeing me as a person and wanted to know me as a person. And it just made then conversations, even about other things, much easier, because that dynamic had changed. I felt valued, I felt respected, and all of those things come from these types of conversations.

Gabrio:

Yeah. This is an interesting aspect. And it also comes down to the former experience. Right. Because I understand this person you mentioned. Probably she experienced on her own. Right. So this is part of the development and learning curve, also of a manager, in fact. And I would say also being open and getting feedback. And it's important. Right. Because you need to have an open conversation with the other person, in fact. And we're all new, in a way, to this new way. Right. So, yeah, understanding is really key, but that's a nice angle.

Tazmin:

So you talked about the importance of being open. How do you encourage that? How do you encourage a team to be honest with you, challenge you, even. Maybe even, God forbid, say, no, I'm not doing that. How do you encourage that?

Gabrio:

Yeah, that's another nice topic. I think that that comes down again to have trust first, because I think if you don't have any rapport whatsoever with a person working in your team for you, under you, with you, et cetera, that's really going to be a challenge. And in terms of how do you encourage having that open conversation, I would say that you can openly ask also about which way you prefer to communicate, which can be a bit off putting, right. For some people. And we can make a nice segue to nationalities and international teams for this after. But in my experience I have been in teams which were quite direct with communication. So let's say asking feedback and also receiving it both ways was quite relatively, quite simple. But then other teams or other people, team members was more tricky. So I think managers should also be very sensible. I don't want to say sensitive, right. But sort of a little psychologist also in a way, because you should be able to sense and sort of detect, have an idea on what level of conversation or what kind of things the person is going to be comfortable sharing with me when it comes to work and what maybe not. So this comes with time. So I think it's nice to have that sort of initial report. And for me I suggest also when someone is starting new, if you have the possibility, even you know it's going to be a remote position, go meet the team in person if you can. This really helps strengthen the rapport or maybe for the first month come to the office two times in a month, something like that. It doesn't mean you'll work remotely after, let's say it's fine, but for the first time, if you have the possibilities, not too much of a geographical, not in Australia and the other one is in Europe. So if you can do it, I also strongly recommend and that will more cement the rapport with your team and the manager. And then I think it comes with time. Some people will be very open and also more keen to conversation and communication will be flowing nicely, some others will be a bit more slower perhaps. And again, it depends what the journey has been and I've seen quite a few differences. Sometimes it's not tricky because people might not share with you all the details and you don't know the background. And again, you're missing those coffee conversations. Right. Which are key many times. So I would say, yeah, there's not a simple, easy recipe, I'm afraid. It's more of being open, communicating and trying to also be there when there's some maybe need that you're not planning. So a bit of convoluted answer here. Convoluted answer. But what I'm trying to get is that it's not a simple science, the communication, and I think you can refine it with time. And team members can be. Some will give you more feedback than others.

Tazmin:

How would a manager handle if feedback isn't the thing that they were expecting? So you said earlier you can ask how people like to communicate. What if the answer doesn't sit well with you, or the feedback you've requested doesn't sit well with you? How would a manager handle that, especially if they've never met that person?

Gabrio:

Yeah, I think you should be as gentle and delicate as possible, because I think people use also the screen as a barrier. In a way, it can be both good and bad, right? Because you could be sort of protecting yourself from being too direct, but at the same time, one could be too direct, so it could be the two extremes. So I think that you need to be careful as a manager again, but don't be shy to ask equally, because I find that if you don't ask also, the person might not reveal. So I had one of my old team members, I found out that she loved, it was a girl in the team, that she loved the direct feedback, and I thought she didn't like direct feedback. And the only way I could find out was, for me, asking. And you can be a little casual about it, but also go to the point and just say, hey, look, for me, it's good to know what's the best way to deliver feedback to you, because we want to be effective and I want to do something which you appreciate, right. That it's working for you. So what type of feedback do you like to receive? And then the person will say one thing or the other. And I was thinking at lunch earlier on this aspect, and sometimes you might have a new team member, which is maybe new is they're off just being intern, right. And maybe they never had feedback, so they don't know the type of feedback they prefer. So one interesting way to approach in this could be, okay, you've never had any managers before. It could be, right, a new person, younger. And you can suggest, look, we will start this now with the management meetings and one on ones, et cetera. One week I will give you direct feedback, one week I will give you indirect feedback. And one week I will give you something maybe neutral in the middle, and then we will meet again, and you will tell me which one you prefer, which one maybe was too much for you, and then we take it from there. So this could also be a way to be sort of gentle and starting fresh with a person which effectively don't know and didn't have that experience. Although I'm kind of guessing that most people will know what they prefer. Right. But still, I think that could be also an interesting approach.

Tazmin:

They might know what they prefer, but they might not be able to say, whereas if you create that framework of let's test this, let's test that, and then we'll see where we go. So that's a really interesting way.

Gabrio:

It could be that you have different team members and I mean, it does require, when you think about it, more effort, right. From a manager, because you might have one team member prefers more direct feedback. The other one maybe is not so direct. So again, this require an additional level of effort, but I think it can really pay off. I mean, if you have a very large team, that comes tricky, but keep a spreadsheet or something, right? You can still organize yourself.

Tazmin:

Yeah, well, lots of great tips already, and I'm really looking forward to the conversations we're going to be having after the break, but we'll have a short break now and be back shortly. So welcome everyone, and I hope you had time to make a cup of tea or get something nice to drink. But we are back talking about how managers can foster some really great relationships with their teams. So, Gabrio, how would a manager be mindful of energy levels? You talked about remote teams, time zones. What is your advice on that?

Gabrio:

Yes, another interesting one. I think this one specifically is not very much discussed. I mean, I don't think many people talk about this. I've not seen, and I follow LinkedIn and other outlets quite a lot. So energy levels is an interesting one because especially with international teams, you will most likely encounter team members in different time zones. Right. And let's say when it's in Europe, it's not so bad. Maybe we have one or 2 hours and we're kind of more or less morning and then afternoon and it's the same. But when you start having people in the US, Australia, et cetera, or other countries in Asia, and let's not forget the rest of the world, it can become tricky. So your morning might be evening of another person, and when you're just starting work, the other person is maybe half of his day and just getting off. So I think this is another interesting aspect. And when possible and feasible, I will try to synchronize time zones, at least on, let's say, sort of similar parts of the day. Or also what you could do is to just, again, as earlier, saying on the communication. Ask your team members when, especially if someone is with significant amount of hours from you, let's say 6 hours plus seven, six. You could ask them when is the time of the day you perform the best? Because some people might work better in the evening and maybe works great with your time zone in the morning. So that's great. So again, I would try to have that conversation, especially when you are a manager, know that you have a large gap in time zone and try to sort of make it work. And also think about maybe don't do meetings on Fridays on those type of things when it's late for the other team members. And the reason for this is that, again, energy levels vary a lot. So you might hear also in the tone of voice that one person is very energetic in the morning, and then the rest of the team is already afternoon, evening, and they are on the kind of quiet side. And the final tip on this specific one is that if you cannot really find a window of time which kind of is balanced, you can also resort to some offline async videos. Right. I know it's not ideal. You don't get that back to back feedback loop, but platforms such as loom or a couple of others are really good. I use that a lot when you have small notes or also people in different time zones that just can't make it. So again, there are just some time zones which are just plain impossible to do. And yeah, I think, again, you should try to adjust and make things sort of align. It gets more complicated when it's a client meeting. Right. And that's why you just have to suck it up and do it. That's the bottom line. So I think that for the most part, when it comes to at least the team meetings, your internal trainings and those type of things, that you also expect people to have attention. Right. If I'm training ten people, I would like them to be kind of awake at a meeting and not falling asleep halfway. So, yeah, I think that's one way of doing it. And once again, it does put a bit of more sense of responsibility on the manager. And I think that's kind of the direction where we're going here with the conversation that, especially managing a remote team, it does take additional effort from a manager. But a good point is that good part is that if you do a couple of small tweaks to your management style, I think it really pays off, because, after all, people appreciate the time and also appreciate, I think, you checking in, I don't think anybody will dislike that you'll ask them, when is the time of the day you're most productive? I think it's a nice question and also will improve your relationship with your colleagues. So it's a win win in my book.

Tazmin:

Yeah. And it's growth for the manager as well, which is always good. So leading from that, you talked about being mindful of energy levels. How can a manager be mindful of cultural differences of remote teams?

Gabrio:

Yes, I think this one, I have to say, this one comes down to experience. That's one thing which will really help. And you cannot really train experience other than experiencing things. Right. So I do think that again, communicating and doing some research on communication style can help if you didn't have the experience. So you can perhaps research on the style of communication for that specific country if you have many team members in country x, you know, people are very direct or indirect, and I could make one example of the Netherlands, our dutch friends. So I worked there for a while and people in Netherlands, everybody knows they're very direct. And for me, as an Italian formerly working in the UK and other few european countries was quite an adjustment because it's seriously direct. So sometimes you might simply go, hey, did you do this? Where is it? The report, sort of not even asking how are you? Et cetera, which when you are things to do in a short amount of time is great, but other times can feel a bit extreme. Right? Especially when you're not used to. So for me, that was quite the adjustment. And ironically, it's also being an adjustment in a reverse now, because now I'm based in Croatia and I'm working with more international teams and clients, and I have to rewind back from that directness, which was too much for the non dutch customers, clients and my people I'm helping online as well. So sometimes I have to remind myself, Gabrio, don't be too much direct, because in emails, for instance, with some countries and people from certain countries, it can not go well. And you have to do a bit of more introduction and doesn't mean you'll write email alpha, a four paper, just asking how are you? But just some common how are you? Which again from certain countries feel normal, but then others are not so much. So how to be mindful is, I think, understanding. A, you have team members from ten nationalities. Yes. B, what can you do about it? C, do you know enough to do something or do you have to ask? So these are some steps I would put in place. If everything is great, maybe you don't have to do anything, but I'm pretty sure you have experienced some situations or where you request something and it didn't really go according to plan or other communication was not flowing. I think there's an interesting phrase which I read in one of things going around online in the UK, and please correct me if I'm wrong on this one, when someone tells you something and you say, oh, that's very interesting, you don't really mean that's interesting, right. It's just a way to say, like, okay, let's move on. But for the Dutch, they think it's really interesting and they will experience the conversation in a different way. And unless you've read this, and there's a great book, I always recommend the culture map from Erin Mayers. And she talks about these things brilliantly. So actually, for all managers, grab a copy of that book. You can find it online. It's amazing. And she talks about these things. She's an international coach on these type of things, helping ceos and founders of companies, et cetera, that have international teams. So I've read that one. So that was already a big help. So, yeah, I just remembered that. So sorry, I went a bit long here. So do you agree on the interesting thing in.

Tazmin:

Yeah, I do. Because you don't want to say you're wrong or you're right, but you're just trying to get to the next stage of the conversation.

Gabrio:

Exactly.

Tazmin:

Politely, without causing offense. But yes, I do. You know what? I think you said this talking about energy levels and cultural differences in remote teams isn't spoken about a lot. And I dare say you are right here. Maybe you can talk more about it.

Gabrio:

Yes, can I say, see some more people even thinking about it? And especially when you think, hey, why a certain team member is not performing sometimes or you expect them to be online at a certain hour of the day. We're remote teams. You are most of the time adjusting that people will answer you in different times of the day, but I think some people still don't get it. So you have to say it in that aspect or it could be something to mention. Right. For example, sometimes I do good work in the evening, it's quiet and my wife is an early bird, so I'm not too big, too much fan of really early morning meetings. Although if I have to do, I'll do them. So then if it's my manager, he might ask me, hey, Gabrio, where do you prefer to have a one on one? So say maybe in the afternoon, like 03:00 is a good time for me. And that's kind of what you could do with your team when you're talking to them and doing one on ones. Right again, of course, times, schedules. Of course, it's not always possible to have everything perfect, but in an ideal world, you can at least make an effort. And if you can adjust to some more pleasant time zones, then why not? That's my whole point.

Tazmin:

Yeah, absolutely. I think we need to probably do another podcast episode on this topic on its own.

Gabrio:

Agreed.

Tazmin:

Okay. Well, we've run out of time, so I just wanted to ask you some questions that we normally ask our guests here. One of the questions is, what is the best career advice you've ever received?

Gabrio:

I think would be failure is one way to succeed, if not the only way to succeed. Because especially when you're starting up or you have something new you're building on your own, that will help you understand where you want to go.

Tazmin:

Yeah, brilliant. Brilliant. And who is somebody, and it doesn't have to be in the SEO world. Who is somebody who inspires you?

Gabrio:

That will be my wife. Yeah, my wife, Lorraine. Sometimes we go through situations together. And also, well, she came from a different country than me, and I noticed that sometimes she will appreciate things, which I don't appreciate, simple things. So she's very thankful and have always a positive outlook for things. And I think we could all use that sometimes. And she always has a smile. So that will be my inspirational.

Tazmin:

That's a brilliant answer. And if you are messing up the kitchen, you know, you can say, look, I mentioned you on the podcast, so you've got.

Gabrio:

That's right.

Tazmin:

If somebody wants to talk to you more about these topics, what's the best place for them to reach you?

Gabrio:

Well, it will be. LinkedIn is a good start. Or they can always email me at info@gabriolinari.com, those two are the best ones.

Tazmin:

And we'll put all the links in the show notes as well. So that leaves me nothing to do. Thank you so much for this. It's been great fun talking to you. It's great fun talking to you even before we recorded. And to thank everyone who's listening and to remind them as well that if they would like to support Sarah we're trying to do with this podcast, then there are various ways that you can do that. One of them is to donate via the buy me a coffee link. And please follow us on Twitter or X. But thank you so much, Gabrio. Thank you.

Gabrio:

Thank you again for your time. And I had a really good time as well. Excellent.