As part of the Best of HR Project I recently had a very inspiring conversation with the regional HR manager (CEE) of a big international company, who told me about his experience of building a highly effective regional HR team. I am happy to share his story with you here.
When I received the regional HR manager’s position…
I was promoted into the regional HR manager’s position almost two years ago. These two years have been hard, but we have managed to build a regional HR team which is not only performing outstandingly, but is also fun to work in. I am sure it is possible to push a team to exceptional performance by putting a lot of pressure on them, but in the long run that isn’t sustainable. Instead, I wanted to create a culture of trust and openness. Read More
The other day I heard a song on the radio which I haven’t heard for about 25 years.
The thing is, when I last heard this song as a kid, I didn’t speak much English, so all I could understand was “Susana, Susana”. Now, however, I can follow the lyrics and my first thought is:
Why the hell did he pick up the phone?
(For those of you who don’t know the song, or are too professional to listen to it during working hours, here is the short summary of the story: The guy is having the perfect romantic moment with Susana. Just then the phone rings. He picks up only to find out that it was a wrong call. By the time he returns to the girl the “magic is gone, it is a disaster”. In fact, she soon gets up to leave.)
No wonder the magic is gone! You picked up the stupid phone! What did you expect?
I feel like saying the same thing to many managers who keep multitasking, picking up phones, sending texts and trying to hold a conversation simultaneously. Read More
Practical solutions to form a cohesive middle management team
“I don’t want to be bossy, it might spoil the team spirit.”
Anne is young and talented. She was the best in her team. No wonder she was the one to get promoted when their team leader went on maternity leave. But after 6 months of being the new team leader, she is in trouble. Her team’s performance is gradually decreasing.
“They are my friends after all,” she keeps saying. “Me and my team members have been working together for 4 years now. I don’t want to spoil the team spirit by becoming bossy all of a sudden. But then how can I make them perform better without being bossy?” Read More
One boss, two bosses, three bosses
One of the reasons many people struggle in matrix organisations is having multiple supervisors.
“It is difficult,” one senior employee comments. “My local boss sets the priorities, I start working, then at the 10 am morning meeting my regional boss from Germany has an idea and he needs me to come up with a first draft by tomorrow. I can’t clone myself, can I? Everybody seems to assume that I have my full working day to complete the task THEY set.”
The assertive-organised-good networking-quick learning matrix superhero
It is never easy to work in a matrix organisation. An employee needs many skills in place to cope with the demands of a matrix organisation. When I asked HR managers about this, they drew up with a long list of skills they consider when it comes to recruitment or development. Employees in a matrix are expected to be flexible, assertive and well organised. They must have good networking skills; they need to be proactive, but they must also quickly learn to say no… A good matrix worker needs to have many skills to succeed. Sometimes it almost seems that in order to cope with a matrix, one needs to be a superhero. And sure enough, companies invest a lot of their resources to improve their employees’ in those skills needed to cope with multiple supervisors. They send them to superhero training courses, they assign mentors to them until they become fully equipped to handle conflicting instructions well…
But how about looking at the situation from the bosses’ point of view?