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How To Bring Your A-Game To Work: Deirdre Waldron, CEO Cawley NEA\TBWA

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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.

Deirdre Waldron, CEO Cawley NEA\TBWA

Having studied computer science in DCU, Deirdre Waldron moved into project management and product marketing before “falling into advertising” via financial services. MD by 37, she has been CEO of one of Ireland’s biggest ad agencies since 2015.

HOW DO YOU HANDLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN TEAMMATES?

A client-agency relationship is quite unique and can come with a lot of pressure, so there needs to be an avenue to release that. We have monthly meetings that are not about client work, so team issues can be discussed here. We also work with a psychotherapist who comes in to do group sessions or one-on-ones. If there’s something boiling underneath that’s not being resolved, we’ll work with him. It’s been brilliant and really embraced by staff.

MEETINGS – A WASTE OF TIME OR ESSENTIAL TO PRODUCTIVITY?

Meetings are a necessary evil as long as they’re run well. I find smaller meeting groups are better; at larger ones, there’s often somebody who’s not engaged. Having a structure of weekly meetings with a pretty clear focus keeps things moving and everyone knows what happens in those meetings beforehand.

READ MORE: How To Bring Your A-Game To Work: Edel Flynn, Commercial Property Entrepreneur

HOW IMPORTANT IS TEAM FEEDBACK?

We find formal, twice a- year, 360-degree feedback allows everybody to get a good one-to-one review. A manager will get feedback for you from your peers, your managers and anyone who feeds into you. Then that feedback is given to you in a formal structure. It can prove really helpful for self-improvement, particularly when someone is honest about what’s good and what’s bad.

WHAT’S YOUR WORK WARDROBE?

I like comfortable yet structured clothing – everything from the Lennon Courtney range in Dunnes Stores to Selected Femme, Whistles and Maje. You can’t beat Topshop and Zara for great blazers and Buffalo for a girl’s shoe desires!

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