You do not lead a team alone

Posted on LinkedIn February 2022 in collaboration with my colleagues Cecile Aretz and Hilde van Kessel. Here we reflect on how we each have contributed to this team with our talents. To my delight, my vision of dual leadership works very well in this setting.

Within the Large Business department of Enexis the team ’Regulier’ is responsible for managing the technical and financial customer administration. This is quite a challenge, given that this department is at the heart of the energy transition. The work load is growing and becoming more complex due to the many changes in the energy market. In order to be able to keep up with this growing complexity, the employees of Regulier together with Cecile, Lina and Hilde have worked in recent years on a strong team, which is sailing full steam ahead with a clear direction in mind.

Keep your crew on board healthy

When I (Lina Baranowski) first started as a leader on this team in 2019, my focus was primarily peace and focus. The team was still feeling the last reorganization in their bones and in addition, the employees were asked, to learn a whole palette of new work. So it was quite a challenge. Based on my intuition, I did not make any grand, ambitious plans, but my focus was mainly on keeping calm and creating overview in this storm of work. My priority was to give attention and thus to increase the trust of my team members. Trust in me, in the team and above all in themselves. Because I had a large team under my care, about 40 people, my working week was full of giving the right attention to the employees and guiding them in their new tasks. However, I knew, if we wanted to grow further as a team, more was needed than ’just’ keeping everyone healthy on board. I was looking for reinforcement, and chose the option of hiring a second team manager to work alongside me. Through good past experiences, I knew that 2 captains on one ship, was going to work for us.

Heading towards your goal

In May 2020, I (Cecile Aretz) started as the 2nd team manager next to Lina. Lina had paid a lot of attention to the people in the team after the last reorganization resulting in a team that trusted each other and where everyone felt safe. Now it was time for a destination. Using my goal-setting approach, I started to work with the team to set a dot on the horizon. Where do we all want to go? With my experience as a facilitator for many organizations in defining their value proposition, I knew how to quickly define the dot within this team in the world of energy transition.

Now that the dot was there, we started setting the course. Everything we do as a team must contribute to the right course towards the goal. For me, this is a natural approach in my leadership style.

In the realization of our vision, it is very important to me that encountering obstacles does not mean changing course. Sometimes you have to deviate from the route because an iceberg has suddenly appeared in your sights that was not drawn on the map. The important thing is to maneuver around the iceberg and then get back on course. In the meantime, the team has become steadfast and resistant to the icebergs that come our way, through good cooperation.

And now full speed ahead

Halfway through 2021 I (Hilde van Kessel) started working as a Lean consultant at the Large Businees department. A strong foundation, enthusiastic leadership and committed employees who knew what they had to do together. The ultimate foundation that you need to become a continuously improving organization. What I could add to the team was additional focus and structure. The vision was clear and the direction was known and lived by all employees. Together with the team I looked at how they could best steer the realization of this vision. This by using the right consultations and associated KPIs. In addition, together with the employees we looked at which improvements they wanted to work on, adding to and in line with the strategy. Progress and feedback on these improvements were incorporated into the consultation structure. The result: employees who are enthusiastic about the new way of working, who make a big contribution to the realization of the initiatives and at the same time keep a good grip on their regular work. An achievement to be proud of.

With the right focus on a safe and trusted team, a clear and inspiring dot on the horizon, and the right tools to reach that dot, challenging goals become manageable. These ingredients have also ensured that the team ’Regulier’ is now where it is. We are convinced that we made the most of these ingredients because we have appreciated each other’s colors, given space to each other’s individuality, but also challenged each other from our own strengths. The most important ingredients, however, are the employees of team Regulier who have proven over and over again that they are open to change and willing to contribute their own efforts.

If you would like to talk further, let us know: with Lina for building trust, with Cecile for inspiration and vision or with Hilde for structures and continuous improvement.

This text is translated from Dutch with Deepl with minor alterations from me.