The first time I got the chance to lead a team, I really didn’t know exactly what to do. The funny thing is, it was rather small, very — we’re actually only two, but I treated ours as if we’re worth an entire floor in a high-rise corporate building!
It was during the dot-com crash that my career as a Technical Writer changed almost overnight, working for a software consulting and development firm that has ridden the wave and transformed into an international call center, with which I was tasked to talk to US-based SMEs as a Product Specialist, joining the ranks of only a few BPOs back then that grew to the dollar-earning sunshine industry of today.
I initially, single-handedly front-lined this web services campaign, backed by a relatively small local technical team. But when it went full-scale, I was already working long hours front and back, taking charge of pre- and post-sales activities. I was too proud to admit I was getting overwhelmed with the workload, it was the unforgiving graveyard shift anyway. While I was already entertaining the idea of quitting, that’s when I convinced myself all I needed was backup. It felt awkward at first to have started with just one, but I treated mine like any other huge team, attacking the shift like it’s the final basketball championship game, thus the idea of “huddle up.”
You’d think huddling up a team is mere pep talk, no. Pretty much like how it’s done in sports, while the goal is to score points and ultimately win a match, it’s equally important that everyone understands what the aim is and how each member of the team will play a role in making sure the tasks get done. So whatever part of the business operations your team is involved in, huddle up to acknowledge everyone’s presence, coach and learn, set expectations and make clarifications, figure out possible challenges, strategize. Work, especially when it’s of the routinely demanding or exhausting type, becomes somewhat bearable when you are sent out to attack the day with a clear understanding of the game plan.
So in my first huddle up with my first team, we’re as if in a doubles tennis match figuring out how to make our crucial first serve. After a couple of matches, always aspiring to make aces, making missteps here and there, eventually hitting targets and growing triple still lean in size, the learnings from each huddle up from my humble beginnings as a team lead, are remarkable lessons I bring with me today every time I get a chance to shout “huddle up!” like a grumpy coach to teams regardless of size.