Career Focus: Traffic Management
It takes a lot of people to make an agency run smoothly. A crucial role in making sure deadlines are met lies with Traffic Management, a department that doesn’t always get the credit it deserves.
Here at Cerebra we have a team of three Traffic Managers who do a remarkable job managing the workflow, creative processes, and campaigns from start to finish. They relieve pressure while also making sure each one of us produces our best possible work every day.
Taking a closer look at the world of Traffic Management, we asked our Head of Operations and Traffic, Shannon Still, to share her thoughts on what it takes to be a successful organiser of our fast-paced agency.
Three personal attributes you need:
Dealing with people is never easy and fulfilling the role of a Traffic Manager means you are faced with different kinds of personalities. Here are a few personal attributes Shannon believes are crucial to this role:
- Empathy: You have to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes, understanding that not everyone works or deals with tasks and pressure equally. It’s important to individually manage people’s time and potential problems with a bespoke attitude.
- Stress management: As a Traffic Manager, you are responsible for deadlines and, as a result, the success and profitability of the agency. You need to be able to effectively operate under frequently stressful times and remain calm. The agency looks to you for solutions – if you panic, they panic!
- Agility: Each day is different in the world of Traffic Management. Sometimes briefs come on short notice and campaigns need to be executed urgently. You need to be flexible in your approach while still making sure proper processes are followed.
Three skills you need:
Just like any other position, there is a particular set of skills that are required for this role. Here are some of the main ones:
- Analytical thinking: You have to be able to process information logically without letting your emotions dictate your actions.
- Communication: Good communication is probably the most important attribute you need as a Traffic Manager. You’re the bridge between the different departments found at an agency, meaning you must be able to communicate effectively as you manage the workflow. By communicating clearly and consistently, you will earn respect and become the pillar of strength that people often need in difficult situations.
- Leadership: When you are the person that the team looks to for answers, you must be a leader. You have to be confident in your decisions and honest in your communication. The respect you earn from the team will directly result in the effectiveness of the agency as a whole.
How to learn the skills you need:
The answer here is simple: experience, experience, experience! There is no manual for what a Traffic Manager does. The bottom line is, the more experience you have, the better at your job you will be.
Books you should read:
“Being a Traffic Manager is about being able to understand that every day will be different. Every brief will be different, but the process is the same. You are not saving lives but what you do is very important. You have immense influence over the agency and many people rely on you every day to be excellent at your job. It keeps you on your toes all the time and so it should. There is no letting up. If you want to be great you need to work on being the best version of yourself. The book It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be by Paul Arden was helpful for me. Project Management books are also very helpful,” Shannon concludes.
So, are you the kind of person that can handle the pressure, think on your feet, and communicate well? Then you might very well be the perfect fit for a Traffic Management role.