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Marta Kacprzak
We speak our mind and we listen to each other. Open communication, sharing information and mutual feedback give us the strength to develop.Marta Kacprzak
Communication Guild Master/Head of Communication
Great work supported by great people.

From Geek to Leader!

What was it? Another great presentation from our HR heroines

When and where? HR in Business and IT Service Centres, 15-16th October 2015

As you know, we really care about improving our people’s skills in Objectivity. We have 16 heroines in the HR team whose focus is on helping people develop themselves. They work closely with every single employee and get to know them from top to bottom, inside and out.

That should be a two-way process and that means that anyone who becomes a leader in Objectivity should know the company and its ethics from every angle. In Objectivity we want leaders who are blazing the trail for others or supporting people to be totally indoctrinated in the “Objectivity way of being”. That doesn’t mean we just want people to drink the Kool-Aid; it means we need our leaders to be people who believe totally in the ethos of the company and know how to share it with others. Some say that this focus on internal promotion is a risk, but our wonderful HR Team recently took to the stage at HR in Business and IT Service Centres with their “From geek to leader” presentation to outline our way of building our leaders from within.

First off, let’s start with what makes a leader in Objectivity. Plain and simply, mixing our metaphors a little, a leader may alternately be the glue, the engine or the beating heart of a team: they’re there to hold things together in the team; they motivate and drive in 1:1 sessions and meetings; and they take time to make sure members feel good and are able to improve on a technical and personal level. As a leader they may spend about 70% of their time working on projects and 30% is dedicated to the team — including engaging with newbies as part of the recruitment process. So, while there are processes involved, it’s absolutely clear to us that a leader is a very human role, and is certainly not a mechanical function.

Knowing what a leader does, we’re able to find people with those talents who are already part of the fold. The “From geek to leader” presentation was focused on the steps that such people take in their transition from potential leader to paragon of our virtues. When we find someone we think could fit the bill—whose communication and management skills match their company knowledge—we know we have unearthed a diamond and we can then start a 3-step process to shine them up.

Phase One is what we call Leadership Induction and it lasts for 3 months. The focus is on opening people up. Obviously not with a scalpel… it’s a process of helping a computer-screen-starter, whose main conversations each day may be with the code on his or her screen, become more extrovert and able to communicate easily in 1:1 meetings, recruitment interviews and feedback sessions. Of course, not every computer nerd has trouble with this, but it can be an exhaustive process for many.

Phase Two is all about continuous development. Training, training, and yet more training. Our fledgling leaders learn how to motivate a team and take part in courses on subjects like ‘situational leadership’, which is designed to teach our leaders manage their people and be flexible and tailored to their development.

The final phase, aptly named Phase Three, is where the HR Business Partner and new leader meet to further develop leadership skills. We also have a quarterly powwow about Performance Culture in which the leader talks about his people and their development.

This is how a geek becomes a leader. It’s not always easy, but we find that it works in almost 100% of the time and we’re proud of it. We felt differently and the self-satisfaction is from seeing the results of putting our theory into practice.

The final takeaway from the presentation was that this process cannot, once again contrary to what many would expect, be a slow adaptation. The company is moving fast; if we want to keep finding and developing our leaders from within, it’s not something that can take years of careful grooming. It has to be a fast, efficient and flexible process. Why? Because fast, efficient and flexible is what Objectivity is all about!