I work for Outbrain (Nasdaq: OB) in the UK Lodon-based office. My role is Director of Sales, Northern Europe. In a word, this means I primarily concern myself with (but not limited to) commercial responsibility for New Business generation, Team leadership & people development, and a general lead on anything that is oriented towards new or developing commercial opportunity.
My team is an interesting mix of talented people from backgrounds that are diverse in all senses of the word. I’m also fortunate enough to lead a team that is bucking trends for Tech by being almost 70% female.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
My team is made up of 6 people.
Where are your teammates located?
Our team is currently operating remotely - everyone is based broadly in the South-east of England, London/surrounding areas.
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
We are a media sales team. Put simply, we are responsible for taking Outbrain’s advertising solution to marketers (and agencies representing them) who want powerful advertising alternatives beyond the finite marketing reach provided by Meta & Google. Look out for us - we have big plans.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
I will leave this one to one of my intellectual heroes, Sir David Brent:
~ Trust, encouragement, reward, loyalty... satisfaction. That's what I'm…... you know. Trust people and they'll be true to you. Treat them greatly, and they will show themselves to be great.
Just kidding, but you do need a team of trustworthy people as there is no place for paranoia in this landscape. Communication is everything and optimising said communication for efficiency is something we aim at.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections. Strong connections are built with Hailey.
How do you make sure your team is happy and engaged in their work?
It’s not actually obvious to me that happiness is the holy grail - in any aspect of life, not least because most people define it subjectively. I strive to make sure my team feels seen, heard, recognized & empowered - and I’m also pretty direct with them about what is great & when we can do better; people appreciate that. I also can’t put enough emphasis on the under-utilized magic of encouraging people. If you see something great in someone - say it.
I strive to make sure my team feels seen, heard, recognized & empowered - and I’m also pretty direct with them about what is great & when we can do better; people appreciate that.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
Not being able to read and feel the energy of a room or a conversation is costly, as is being plugged into the matrix and being pinged all day, this takes it toll - on everyone.
That being said, every challenge in life presents opportunities, and remote working has brought an enormous amount of focus & productivity that offices did not always produce. We have opted for Hybrid working long-term for the best of both worlds.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
Fun Brainstorming sessions.
I can’t say we play any remote games. After 2 years remote working the novelty of remote games and quizzes has worn off a little.
We do a quick roundtable. I like the idea of everyone being able to just give a little monologue and hold a space for everyone to be an imperfect human being for 5 mins before we begin talking shop.
Products & Tools
We use surveys like culture amp to ensure we are reading our peoples sentiment and adjusting accordingly. We take this very seriously and our C-suite are often KPI’d on making changes by the board.
Resources for remote leaders
This is the age of information so you are spoilt for choice. Personally I have invested privately in a lot of emotional intellgence and introspective work to ensure I show up better for my team and for myself. This carries through everything in your life including leadership.
Make your company a great place to work
"Adding Hailey has been by far the lowest effort, highest impact thing we’ve done to bring our globally scattered team together!" - Mary Grace Reich