5 Ways To Fail As A Billing Manager

by | Jul 13, 2015

It’s no secret that leading a recruitment team is one of the toughest jobs around. If you’re a billing manager, you’re somehow expected to balance the demands of training new consultants and motivating your average performers, while still hitting your own monthly targets.

Many recruitment leaders are reluctantly thrust into the role as a “battlefield promotion” and given little training on how to lead or manage. Most billing managers we speak to say that they would like more support in developing as a leader. This is normally translated by their boss as “please send me on a course.” But leadership development courses won’t help you if you’re making any of the fundamental fails below..

No. 1 You’re just not that good at recruiting

Most of what we learn, is picked up by observing and imitating others. How you run your desk, the “moves” you show every day, will form 80% of what people in your team use as the benchmark for “what good looks like”. So if you’re only an average recruiter then your team are destined to be average too. You don’t have to be a top biller, but you do have to set a good example in all of these areas:

  • building lasting relationships with customers
  • bringing in new business consistently
  • showing urgency & pace in how you run your desk
  • billing consistently at a solid level
  • negotiating and influencing

 What kind of example are you setting your team?

No. 2 You focus on volume over effectiveness

Managers who focus solely on driving volume of activity are lazy and unimaginative. This behaviour breeds dependant, average consultants, who have little understanding of why what they are doing contributes to their success.

Volume of activity is undoubtedly a useful metric, but long term success depends on understanding the relationship between activity inputs and profitability outputs.

How many of your people can explain how their sales activity translates to fees on the board?

No. 3 You don’t understand the individual goals and motivations of your team

Most managers know that consultants want to earn money. However, very few know why they want to earn that money. When the tough days, weeks and months inevitably arrive, it’s the why that keeps people going. If you don’t understand what that is, your ability to impact performance in tough times will be limited.

Do you know why each of your team turn up to work every day and what they want to achieve over the next 1,3,5 or 10 years?

No. 4 When performance dips, you’re frustrated with instead of for your team

When a consultant’s performance drops, too many managers show their frustration with the person. This tells the consultant you care more about your agenda and concerns than theirs.

Great managers are frustrated for the individual, because they’re as passionate about each team member’s success as their own.

What matters most; your own personal success, or the success of your team and the individuals in it?

No. 5 You’re looking for a way out of billing

The best leaders we work with still love recruiting, they had to be dragged away from billing to be a leader. When someone moves in to leadership to escape the burden of billing, their team is destined to be average.

Agency recruitment is too hard and demands too much, if you don’t love it your team will know and it will rub off on them and impact their success.

Do you still love winning new clients, getting candidates jobs of their dreams and all the good and bad that goes with it?

While these are all fundamentally important, the good news is that they are relatively easy problems for you to fix. They are either decisions you need to make about your approach or simple things you can teach your team to do.

Once you’ve got a strong foundation in place, it’s time to look at ways to elevate your leadership and grow your team’s performance.