How OneBridge Empowers Team Members
Here at Cloverleaf, we care about all things team culture. After writing a post over the importance of empowering your team, we reached out to a few companies to ask how a team leader within their company works to empower team members.
The interview below is with Kymberli Findley, the Director of Engagement at Onebridge. Onebridge is a Data Analytics consulting firm helping customers transform their business through data insights and analytics empowerment. Kymberli’s key focus is on Culture and Leadership Development and she also leads the company’s Customer Experience Division. This includes a variety of departments/roles that centralize into two major or distinguishable functions - Employee Engagement and Customer Experience. In her role as a leader, she strives to be transparent with how she leads, establish a clear expectation for communication, and align people to leverage their strengths and abilities with the needs of the organization.
How does your leadership style work to empower your team?
Empowerment is the product of culture.
I’m passionately curious, naturally love solving problems, and enjoy learning from people. Using those traits and aligning my leadership style to our core values to guide interactions and decision making ensures all members on the team have a voice, understand how decisions are made, and feel compelled to ask questions, seek information, and offer solutions and new ideas.
How has understanding your employee’s personality and skills allowed you to lead them better and provide clear objectives?
We use tools to help us understand the needs, drives, and communication styles of each person. We have embedded these tools into our culture to create greater self-awareness in how we interact with others, and ensure we actively recognize that everyone is wired differently.
Understanding each employee’s style, combined with knowing them personally at an individual level allows me to meet them where they are most comfortable and provide communication and direction in a manner most relevant to them. It’s a critical step to building trust, which is the foundation for greater employee engagement.
Exploring personality dynamics, communication styles, and motivation can be uncomfortable; but at Onebridge, we thread this dialogue into all of our interactions to normalize the conversation and create more meaningful experiences for all employees.
Every person is different. Understanding a person’s strengths, drives, and areas for improvement are key elements to aligning their talent in ways which they can best learn, contribute, and thrive - ultimately providing greater impact to the business and greater experiences and outcomes for our customers.
What has been key in empowering your team at Onebridge?
A key to empowering my team is to normalize mistakes. When everyone feels that they are in an environment where they are safe to make mistakes, they are more likely to innovative, push boundaries and test themselves.
When people are empowered to try new things or make decisions and feel they will be supported despite the outcome it removes the fear of failure or the fear of punishment.
I openly talk about my mistakes, I actively own my failures. When they occur, I ask for direct feedback and perspective from my team to help me improve. I believe when they see me championing this and putting it into practice, they begin to feel comfortable practicing it themselves.
Reinforcing trust is a part of being able to empower your team. How do you reinforce trust within your team and workplace?
Consistency. I work hard to develop and actively build trust with my team members every day. It’s critical to my success, their success, and the success of the company. I’m intentional about how important this is. I do this by showing up for them, by following through on what I say I will do, and by proving I am trustworthy in how I model my own behavior. People don’t blindly trust others. Trust must be earned, and once given, it should be valued and protected.
How do you encourage team members to be self-aware and understand when they need help and comfortable asking for help?
We talk about self-awareness in all aspects of all the work we do (and sometimes also about life in general). This is a topic we spend a lot of time talking about each week during individual 1:1 sessions. We actively ask and answer tough questions, give direct feedback, and explore what we can control, how we respond, and how we could adapt or improve our own style to help others.
Team members are pushed to constantly stretch themselves, to adapt their own style and level of comfort, and to be active in the process. These conversations require an extreme amount of honesty. While they take time to get comfortable with, they are valuable in building mutual trust. I have found that once trust is established, and failure is actively embraced, communicating struggles or asking for help is easy (or easier). I also ensure that I specifically ask for help when I need it and that I follow-up with gratitude and specifically let them know how their support positively helped/impacted me. Again – I think when actively modeled, it becomes threaded into the unspoken norm and team dynamics of “how we act” and “who we are” and “what team means to us”.