Finding the sweet spots

When you speak about what you do, do your eyes light up?


On Friday morning I attended the Pathfinders Business Breakfast, a networking event in Newcastle. I always enjoy the opportunity to meet new people, although at 7am it is a little harder to socialise! The speaker for the morning was a man named Paul O'Rourke, current CEO of an organisation called Emily's Voice, and the former CEO of my current workplace, an international child development organisation.

At one stage during his address, he asked the above question and it really aligned with a lesson I have learnt recently in the journey of developing as a team leader here in the contact centre of my workplace. There's so many theories on how to get the best out of someone, incentives, rewards, recognition, further training or education, career diversity, everyone thinks differently. And it may be a generational stereotype speaking here, but what I am realising about managing a team mostly comprised of young people (20-30's) is that when someone is working something that a) they love and b) they are good at, they don't need much more motivation than that. It's when their eyes start to light up when they speak about their job that you know they're in their sweet spot. But finding those combination of things is a lot easier said than done.

For me and some of my team, it meant giving them extra jobs, or different training on processes, giving them the opportunity to cast their ideas for redesigning processes, or even at times asking their advice (crazy right, that a leader could ask advice from a team member) on a situation.

I definitely haven't mastered this leadership and management thing, but I can say that I am learning a lot, not just about my team as I stretch and challenge them to see them working their best, but about myself and just how much I have to learn about being a leader, coach, mentor. Some people think that leadership is a gift you are born with, and to a degree I believe that, but I also think that everybody has the capacity to lead, because somewhere there are people that need that spark that you have, otherwise you wouldn't have it! And now some wise words that aren't from me.


"the challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude, be kind, but not weak, be bold, but not bully, be thoughtful but not lazy, be humble but not timid, be proud, but not arrogant and have humour, but not folly" - Jim Rohn