It takes great leadership to build great teams. Successfully managing a group of employees requires a keen understanding of strengths and weaknesses. Jillian Bolger asks six business leaders how they get everyone to bring their A-game to work.
BRENDA O’CONNELL, DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EMEA AT TWITTER
Responsible for Twitter’s strategic partnerships across enterprise and consumer companies, Brenda O’Connell has over 15 years’ experience in product and business development. She is also founder of CoderDojo Paris.
WHAT’S THE SECRET TO DELEGATING SUCCESSFULLY?
If you’re going to delegate a task, be very clear on the objectives and deadlines, and make sure there’s great communication with whoever you’ve delegated to. You have to trust people, and set them up for success. You have to let them know that it’s OK to fail too, as long as they fail fast and learn from it. Failure isn’t what we’re looking for, but it’s useful for learning.
WHAT ARE YOUR KEY VALUES, AS A LEADER?
Respect, trust, honesty and being very straightforward with people. If you have a problem, come out and say you have one. Equally, if someone is doing a good job, make sure they are being praised and taken in the right direction. The emotional connection is as important as being results-driven. You have tohave both.
HOW DO YOU MOTIVATE TEAM MEMBERS?
You can motivate people by showing them how they can have an impact. Once they see that, everything else follows.
HOW DO YOU HANDLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN YOUR TEAMMATES?
You have to treat people like adults and give them the kudos to figure it out on their own. It’s important to keep an eye on a situation in case people aren’t able to get around difficulties. I try to have a very open culture within the team, so when something’s not going right and people can’t figure it out, I will step in. You address it as a team, remove the person from the equation, and look at the problem itself: Where is the tension, the frustration and what can we do collectively to overcome that? As soon as you start having back channel conversations, it doesn’t work.
WHAT’S YOUR WORK WARDROBE?
I love clothes that are unstructured yet stylish. I travel a lot, so I need clothes and shoes that are both comfortable and easy to pack. Brands I wear include Isabel Marant, Vanessa Bruno,Maje and Cos, shoes from Karine Arabian and Chie Mihara, and Abaco handbags.