Leader or manager? How to make a difference

17 April 2020

By Julia Samuel

Leader or manager? How to make a difference

​Hands up this is a bit of a self-indulgent post about our team, well, more specifically the captain who continues to steer our ship, Sarah! However, Company Directors (Managers) are dealing with huge changes and challenges at the moment and the expectations of them in terms of their leadership ability couldn’t be higher.

In my eyes, every single one of them getting it spot on at the moment, deserves a huge pat on the back and recognition from their team that they’re doing a great job!

Four weeks in (has it really been four weeks?!), like pretty much everybody, we’ve been on a rollercoaster of a ride getting to grips with the ‘new normal’ and adapting to the change. We’ve debunked from the office, had ups and downs working from home and learned to deal with our normal mountain of work getting less, in the short term.

As a team, we’re in a good place. I’m in a good place. And I put that down to the leadership Sarah’s shown in the last few weeks. I’m not going to be cheeky enough to speak for the rest of the team (although I’m pretty sure they would be saying the same as me!) and of course other people will value something completely different but here are what’s made the difference, for me.

Being physically present when it’s needed

Just as events were unfolding, Sarah was taking some much-needed time off to recover from an operation. As soon things became more serious, she was back in the office like a shot – much sooner than she’d planned - to make decisions, in person, that only a business owner can make.

Quick decision making

Nothing unusual here for Sarah but I’ve appreciated this more than ever. Working from home was quickly put in place, well before it was ‘enforced’, so I had the luxury of time to take everything from the office I needed to make it work (including the less than tidy desk set-up it seems!).

Choosing the right team

We all have a say in who joins us however the ultimate decision, of course, lies with Sarah. It couldn’t be more ‘right’, right now. We’re a tight knit bunch who genuinely care about each other and that’s shone through. If I’ve had a crappy day – one or all of them has been there to pick me up and make me smile again. Thanks team – hope you feel I’ve done the same!

Being flexible

With a young one at home, like many, I’m juggling more than usual (hats off to all of you out there in this position too!). Sarah gets it. Kicking me off (in the nicest possible way) my keyboard to get out in the fresh air with my daughter, or chatting through options about working hours or taking time off, has been a tonic.

Humour and positivity. While keeping it real

Sarah’s a naturally positive person and this has hasn’t changed. We’ve continued to laugh but equally been able to share when we’re not ‘feeling it’ or finding things tough. I wouldn’t claim to get, or know about, half of what she’s had to deal with but she’s managed to get the balance between being positive and sharing what she’s going through, and where we are as a business too, just right.

Sarah has huge positivity for the future and we’re using the time to make sure we’re in an even better place to smash it when we come out the other side. And that’s rubbed off on me and has kept my ‘work head’ in the right place.

Keeping the communication going

As we’re not in the office, Sarah makes sure we’re ‘all together’ at least twice a week. We have a ‘fun’ session organised by one of the team and a ‘work’ session to make sure everyone’s up to speed with what’s going on the recruitment-front. We’ve got together ‘out of hours’ for a couple of drinks and a quiz too. She also makes a point of keeping in touch, regularly, with everyone individually. Feeling comfortable about having honest conversations, for me, is what it’s all about.

I could definitely go on however more than ever these last few weeks have reinforced that I couldn’t have made a better decision to join Sarah and the team. She’s a shining star in my eyes!

I’d love to hear how your manager/leader has made a difference, in a good way, for you too!

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