A three-part course on Team Management started last week in the Pauwels Consulting Academy. Darren Booth, the director of Seventh Wave, teaches this course. Before the start, we had a conversation with him about his role, his passion and the Pauwels Consulting Academy.
Listen to it here.
I live in York, in the U.K., I also work out of York, in my home office, but my job takes me all over the world. My name is Darren Booth. My job title is Director at Seventh Wave, and we are a people training company.
I started in retail in the U.K. with a company called the Arcadia Group, which are a large retailer, and I pretty quickly made it through to a leadership role. I’ve then since worked with IKEA, with Apple, and in every role that I’ve had, I’ve always had leadership roles that lend themselves towards leadership development and training.
A lot of my roles have taken me around the world. I’ve had senior roles where I’ve managed hundreds of people and I’ve had junior roles where I’ve managed a few people. And what this does, it really gives me the tenure and experience to use my experience and our training programmes to help young and new-to-leadership managers and even tenured leaders.
Becoming a manager
So as a young manager, I was given very little training, so I had to learn for myself, I was good at what I did. So I was giving a team to look after, which is a very common theme in leadership. Oh, you are good. So look after these people and all of a sudden you a manager with no experience.
Most people I’ve met have been through that experience themselves. So I’ve had incredible leaders who have supported me through my career that were inspiring and supportive. And I’ve also had the opposite of that. Leaders that weren’t supportive, that were expecting something I wasn’t capable of. And I didn’t do a very good job of leading and supporting me. And I think a blend of those two things helped me bring a practical, realistic viewpoint to what it’s like to transition from a member of a team into a manager and beyond.
Supporting an individual, supporting a team in that growth is quite simply the best job in the world. I did this throughout my career from ground new employees to leaders going through their progression to supporting senior leaders. And now I do the best part of my job every single day. This is the reason why I left employment was to create this business and do this every day. And I absolutely love seeing the growth in an individual. I focus on them, not me. So all of the work that we do is always about you, not me. And that support is true to the passion.
The learning process
We use a technique in facilitation to encourage conversation and collaboration, so as an example, we will introduce a model, let’s say the change curve. We will then ask the individuals to think about an example of where they have worked or lived through the change curve.
With that, I encourage a conversation in a breakout group or room. If we’re physically together, those guys will go out of the room and have a chat or everyone will break out into digital rooms. They talk about the change curve and then they come back in and share their examples.
What happens in this process is the individuals remember, because they’ve established that understanding from a personal example, and then they apply it to work by talking to somebody else about their culture and their team and their environment.
What this does is there’s another model we talk about called the cone of learning, which is if we are part of a discussion and with them present, not back and talk, talk, talk back. From what we’ve discussed, we will remember 80 or 90 per cent of that content in a few weeks. And this is a proven way of learning and this is the way that we like to train.
There’s this added benefit to this as well, is as we all break-in, in our groups were actually having conversations with individuals that we might not normally talk with because we’re busy or they’re in a different department. So it starts to build collaboration within that group as well. So not only are we learning a model and we’re having ideas or thoughts about how we can apply our learning, but we’re also making better relationships with individuals that we are training with.
Team management programme
What will I be doing for Pauwels Consulting in the upcoming months, so we’re going to be running a team management programme which consists of three 90 minute workshops. These are online workshops. We have one at the end of May, the first one, which is how to build a team and the third of June, we have situational leadership. And then a week later, we have conflict management.
So what is the purpose of such a programme?
This is almost like a taster session and it’s a great opportunity for consultants to get their perspective on some leadership models.
So we start with how to build a team using some models here that will really help them understand how teams form and how teams grow. I think the skills that they’re going to acquire through this in the conversation are going to help them understand maybe the individuals they work with. They can almost apply their learning retrospectively and understand how things have worked in the past or why they’ve worked and even how things haven’t worked and why they haven’t worked.
With that, we move into situational leadership, which gives us an opportunity to look at how we can influence the teams around us. And this is really, really important in understanding ourselves and understanding how we need to adjust to others rather than they all adjust to you.
And then finally, we look at conflict management. This can be a real challenge for leaders having a difficult conversation or dealing with a challenging individual or customer or supplier. We give processes and models and we allow a safe environment for the individuals to practise so they can feel comfortable and confident. Going into these difficult conversations, I’ll always be demonstrating examples I can get for my career to help individuals that haven’t got experience in that and use case studies where appropriate as well to help them understand a little bit. The one thing we can’t do in these sessions or any session is to teach individuals, experience. What we can make them ready for those experiences as they come across them.
Would you, as a consultant of Pauwels Consulting, also like to participate in such Academy sessions?