24: Moving from Doing to Leading the Work with Hilary Dudek

24: Moving from Doing to Leading the Work with Hilary Dudek

Hilary Dudek has moved from an organisation where she was a product expert, to one where she is new to the whole tech stack. Find out how she manages that!


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Charlotte Ward  0:14  

Hello, and welcome to session 24 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. This week we’re talking about moving from doing the work to leading the work. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. Today, I’d like to welcome back Hilary Dudek. The topic for this week is getting out of the queue. I would be interested in your thoughts on how we move from being individual contributors to being leaders and in support that generally means moving away from doing the frontline work to be more strategic. Do you think we should get out of the queue? Does it ever really happen? What’s your general strategy and your ideal around that.

Hilary Dudek  1:01  

I don’t think we’re ever fully out of the queue as support leaders. I think we’re still getting, you know, depending on what you’re tiering structure is, I don’t know what you might call it, but you you’re probably still getting those tier-three questions or you’re getting, excuse me, you’re getting escalated questions. And this came in from Marketing and I think it’s spam but I’m not sure, can you confirm? – like those weird one-off tickets, you’re probably getting some things still escalated. So I don’t think you ever fully get out of it. And I think there is some benefit to maintaining a close relationship with the frontline support. So maybe that’s getting in there every couple of weeks you dedicate a couple hours to answering some tickets just so you are staying fresh on your product knowledge and you understand what your team is going through. But that’s always my personal goal. And sometimes it doesn’t work out and like so you know, four weeks before I get back in there I do always have tickets escalated to me throughout the day that I provide direction on.

Charlotte Ward  2:05  

So what you were just saying there about staying fresh with product knowledge that that kind of is useful and important in terms of keeping your perspective fresh, as you said in terms of keeping your, your understanding of what the frontline agents are doing every day and why certain things take certain amount of time or whatever, and what their particular challenges are. But what about in those organisations where the product set is just vast? What do you think changes there for a leader?

Hilary Dudek  2:38  

That’s actually what I’m dealing with. I’m coming I came from a company I came from Handshake where I was the second support agent. I just learned the product as it grew. And I always had that knowledge inside of me. So I came from being a master of product knowledge to you know, having to learn the Glooko app. What I didn’t realise was that they also integrated with over 200 devices. So I have to learn hardware, I have to learn software. So that’s a current challenge for me that I am working through. But I think that’s where doing frontline support really is impactful because I can’t advocate in these meetings with other directors or with the VP of product and business development, I can’t advocate for changes if I don’t know how my team is being affected by the product as it is today. So I’ve made a huge effort to get in there to listen to their feedback to collect their feedback. And it’s a work in progress. I can’t tell you that I could troubleshoot everything like my team can. They are the true heroes here, but I’m working towards it.

Charlotte Ward  3:45  

And you know, I’m not sure it is necessary to be able to troubleshoot everything that your team can because otherwise, you are I mean, that is presumably a full-time job. And if you get too close to it, you’re it’s gonna be difficult, I think to step away from the queue if you get that involved, don’t you think? And then how do you do the other 95% of your role, which is the leadership, which is, you know, all the people management, the operations, the tools, the strategy, the business side, that that kind of I think it has to be the bigger part, definitely. But I also think if you get too embroiled in day to day queue stuff, as a matter of time, but probably a matter of some kind of distance as well, I think 

Hilary Dudek  4:36  

I would agree with you there. You know, knowledge is power, but if I have all this knowledge, I’m going to be tempted to just jump in there, um, you know, during meetings or during random breaks in my day when I should be focusing on what I was hired to do. And so I definitely agree with you. So

Charlotte Ward  4:55  

Yeah, I think I’m of the mind that our job as leaders is to make sure that our teams can function as well as they can without us being there. And if we’re there with a broom sweeping up all the time, then we’re not really helping.

Hilary Dudek  5:12  

I think we’ve agreed the goal is to know just enough to be dangerous, but not to actually build a house. There we go. 

Charlotte Ward  5:19  

Perfect amount of knowledge. Excellent. Yeah. That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/24 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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