Ash Rhodes didn’t have a wonderful step up into leadership. Let’s learn about that, and how he thinks it should really be done.
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Charlotte Ward 0:14
Hello, and welcome to Episode 16 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. This week we’re talking about transitioning to leadership. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. today and welcome back Ash Rhodes to the podcast. Now, if you remember back to Episode 12, Ash told a particularly excruciating story about his first day in leadership where he had to terminate the employment of one of his friends. We went on after that discussion to talk about how new leaders could be supported in their roles, and indeed, what specific coaching or guidance could be given to new leaders and how he felt about his own transition into leadership. First, we talked about how he felt about promoting from within.
Ash Rhodes 1:05
I don’t actually mean don’t promote from within the team, I believe strongly in promoting from within. But if you have a large enough organisation, and you’ve got multiple teams… so GoDaddy at the time had something like 400 people, and there were multiple teams, I would have loved to have been on a put on the lead of literally any other team anywhere else in the organisation, especially given what happened that day. That’s the type of behaviour that I would love to see. I strongly, like every other place I’ve been I promote from within if there’s any leader, anyone who wants to be a leader, then I coach for that.
Charlotte Ward 1:48
So do you think this is more about this is more about when you suddenly stepped up into that position and you haven’t grown into it because often support leaders grow into a leadership role from an IC role as the team grows underneath them, you know, people hired into start-uppy situations. Right. So do you think that’s different from what you’re describing that it was a fairly cohesive team? Ready that your part… and yeah, it’s the abrupt step up perhaps that’s the problem
Ash Rhodes 2:15
Yes. So the way in which, in that environment, basically, they, they didn’t so much grow leadership, they asked people if there was anybody who wanted to do it and they just dropped them into… there’s kind of a growth model, which in startups is the opportunity… is what people tend to do. And then in larger organisations, I tend to see where they just… In startups, you kind of in my experience, you are given the opportunity, your your frequently. You have mentors that will teach you things and you’re allowed to grow and make mistakes and those mistakes are frequently growth opportunities and so on. Whereas I don’t want to I don’t want to paint too many places with the same brush and so on. But it is frequently the Peter Principle where you just kind of get put into higher places and till you just start failing kind of the Peter Principle type of situation. So you just like they would just snatch you from one like the IC to lead and you don’t fail. So then you get put into a supervisor and you don’t fail and so you get like to a higher place. And it actually worked. It worked at GoDaddy fairly well. There was a lot of failure, but they like depending on the situation you would drop down and then maybe go to a different department and then rise again. And as long as it was not an enormous failure, you could you could rise the ranks. And…
Charlotte Ward 3:29
So essentially the organisation is kind of big enough to soak up some…
Ash Rhodes 4:17
Soak up that failure. Exactly.
Charlotte Ward 4:19
Like almost like a competency contingency, almost like there’s enough.
Ash Rhodes 4:26
There was enough buffer to, to absorb that incompetence.
Charlotte Ward 4:31
Ash Rhodes 4:32
Which I like, please understand that it has been a solid decade or so since I’ve been there. I would presume that they now have sufficient internal mentoring that they run much leaner, that they actually train people to do all of these things. There was basically no internal training at that time. They had internal training when you were coming in, but actually like management training or leadership training, anything like that? Nothing like absolutely nothing.
Charlotte Ward 5:04
So onboarding was there. But once you were in the promotion cycle, there was nothing,
Ash Rhodes 5:09
Absolutely nothing. So it was, it was a fascinating, fascinating experience. Like I, I learned a lot of things, but most of it was how not to lead. Like everybody talks about who your mentors are. I had mentors in that they were, I never want to act like that. And I learned a lot of terrible, terrible, like, I myself, found myself like, acting poorly because that was the only way that I knew how to act in my very early career.
Charlotte Ward 5:43
That’s it for today, head over to customersupportleaders.com/16 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
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