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        Importance of a team

Teamwork is something we cannot escape in our day-to day lives. Whether it’s at school, around the office, or even within our families, we often succeed in reaching our  goals by working together. Kumail Jetha, the Delivery Unit Manager of ENDAVA, an IT solutions company in Moldova, joined us for a discussion on the importance of teams. He is an expert having set up many teams around Europe, but more recently, having grown his current team in Moldova to 350 people.  

Originally from London, Kumail has lived in many different countries such as, Australia, USA, Romania, and now in Moldova. Kumail sets up different business in the IT space and has also built a few of his own startups, “I’m an entrepreneur by nature, some would call me a risk taker,” Kumail introduced himself.

It’s About People

Kumail’s work is people-oriented, he builds teams around Europe for ENDAVA. Founded 15 years ago in Moldova, ENDAVA is a leading European IT services organization, with around 2000 employees with offices in the UK, Romania, Germany, New York, Belgrade, Serbia.

“Team creation is hard work, you’re dealing with people, who have emotions, and those are hard to deal with,” says Kumail. In 2007 Kumail was responsible for growing a 200 person  development centre in Cluj, Romania. The center was successful so, a second one was built in 2009. In Chisinau Kumail has grown his team to 350 people over the past two years. Besides that, it's very important to do a right selection and hire capable specialists. Here Kumail stated that it's best to avoid getting friends in your business, it can ruin the relationship and affect the workflow.

Take Risks. Bounce Back.

Kumail talked about his successes and failures in the context of his first business endeavors, for example, selling clever t-shirts in the UK. As you grow any project there will be failures, but, according to Kumail,“it's not how hard you fall, but how high you bounce back.” Challenges and failure help you gain experience and improve, each time you fail you learn something new that will help you succeed later on.

No Failure. No Success.

There came a point in his Career when Kumail had the experience and the confidence to found an IT Startup. He had an innovative idea, a group of skilled people, innovation and industry experience, “what could go wrong?” he thought. Kumail later realized that a key ingredient was missing, a strong team. Taken as individuals, his team members were real experts in their field, but when they were brought together, they didn't want to work as a team and because of this the project failed, but “No great success was ever achieved without failure. As well as focusing on successes in your life, do consider the failures and see what you can learn from failures and the stop signs in your career,”and Kumail moved on with new insight.

This experience marked an important point in Kumail’s career when he learned the importance of setting up and nurturing a team. That experience gave him the possibility to develop his management abilities and eventually led him to Chisinau.

Lead Yourself To Lead Others.

As you experience failures and successes in life, you must also pay attention to your strengths and weaknesses, you must know yourself. Do you know how you work with others, how you deal with stress, and how you problem-solve under pressure?  In order to be a good  leader for any team you need to know these things, “the more that you understand who you are, what type of personality you have, the better you’ll be at leading yourself, and if you can lead yourself, you can lead others around you,” said Kumail.

Know Your Leadership Style

The definition of leadership varies, but as we learned from Kumail there are two main types of leadership styles:

  • Leadership from the front refers to leading your team by giving specific directions and instructions and supervising the results.

  • Leadership from the back happens when you build trust and confidence in your team and you don’t need to supervise every action as you can trust your team and they trust you.

Besides the styles of leadership, it’s important to consider personalities of a leader, or the leader’s attitude toward his team. There are four main types of leaders:

  1. Dominator - someone who gives a lot of challenge, pushes really hard, but gives no support and creates a culture of fear and manipulation.

  2. Abdicator - gives low level challenge, low support, a leader that just waits for things to happen.

  3. Protector - someone who doesn't give enough challenge, but gives lots of support, which creates a culture of entitlement.

  4. Liberator - provides the right balance of challenge and support to the team.

Learn and Educate

ENDAVA does software for big customers, besides they have their own university, which is a learning framework for ENDAVA’s employees. The company supports people to learn and grow, they do trainings, conferences, hackathons and many other professional and entertainment activities for their employees.

Endava it's an innovative company, which encourages innovation for its clients and also for itself as working structure. The company has 50-60 internship positions every year, for people interested in software development, software testing and project management. The internship is a three month training and then if the applicants pass, they’re offered a full time position.

A few steps to knowing and improving yourself:

  1. Get to know yourself better, figure out the type of personality you are.

  2. Understand what you like doing and what you don’t.

  3. Find people that are good at doing what you’re not good at doing.

  4. Find reliable people you can work with, people that are doers.

  5. Understand what type of leadership style you have, also adjust your leadership style in different situations.

  6. Don’t just hire people under one format, some enjoy working part time and they are productive that way, others work full time, while some love to get involved in occasional projects.

Tips from Kumail on team management:

  • “Give people a second chance, maybe give them a third chance, but if its not working out, make a radical decision for your team and for your business.”

  • “Support and challenge your team”

  • “Invest in your team and put them before yourself, the more you do this, your team will respond back and pay of.”

  • “Create a culture and build trust.”

  • “Appreciate that everyone is different, the more that you can appreciate different personalities, the more that you can work on developing your team.”

  • Learn to emphasize and be compassionate, people can have good days, and they can have bad days, there are morning people, there are afternoon people, everyone is different.

  • Sometimes people need a break and they need support. Learn to put yourself in their shoes, try to understand what they are going through and be there to help.

  • Be flexible and understanding, not everyone is good at coming to the office at 9 o'clock and leaving at 6 o clock.

  • Get to know your team, the workplace is one environment, outside is another, you can learn more about your team outside of the workplace and strengthen it.

  • People are valuable, so look after them.

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