67: Self-care in Support with Greg Skirving

67: Self-care in Support with Greg Skirving

Greg Skirving believes in starting the day well, and using a little reminder to take control where we can. For fans of the daily episodes, you’ll know we stick to a maximum 7-minute format, and there’s a clue in here just how we do that!


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Charlotte Ward 0:13
Hello, and welcome to Episode 67 of the customer support leaders podcast. I’m Charlotte Ward. The theme for this week is self care in support. So stay tuned for five leaders talking about that very topic. I’d like to welcome back to the podcast today, Greg Skirving. Greg, it’s lovely to have you back. The topic for this week is self care in support. So how do we look after ourselves? And how do we look after our teams in what is really a pretty stressful job at times?

Greg Skirving 0:51
Yeah, thanks. Thanks, Charlotte. Good to be back. Yeah, you know, I think I think one realises pretty quickly when they get into report that it is chaotic, fast paced, interrupt driven. I think it’s, it’s, it’s critical that you, you are comfortable being uncomfortable. I know. I know, a lot of people get into support and quickly realise that that they, they might not be able to handle the rigours of, of support, but I think most people, you know, managed to, to take a positive outlook and approach to the role. I think from a manager’s perspective, and this is one of the key things that we do is ensure that our, that our folks are set up for success. And, you know, being able to manage their time manage their, their feelings and self awareness is is a critical part. I know and of course, everybody’s different. So you truly need to like all things to understand People understand who needs what, when. But what what I like to tell my folks is, have a good start of day routine. Come in, you know, 10 minutes before the start of your shift before you have to start taking calls set up your day, you know, you have to plan. But as it’s interrupt driven, we need to be able to adapt. And, you know, all the successful engineers and support folks I know are able to plan and adapt. And that gives a sense of structure to the day and in some direction, but also means that you know, we can quickly adapt to changes so with that as a, you know, good set of skills. It helps people to to relax, obviously, as much as we can, but be prepared, be prepared. I think that’s an important thing.

Charlotte Ward 2:58
It’s interesting, isn’t it? Because It’s a real dichotomy of the role that that it reads is really interrupt driven. And yet, if you spend the day entirely at the whims of customers or other stakeholders, it actually doesn’t make it for a very productive day anyway, and leaves you feeling spiralling out of control. And I’m pretty stressed and burnt out if you sustain that for any length of time. So, that ability to try and draw some control from it, by which we both I think means structure and and prioritising our own work, but but still being able to respond to all of those other needs. That’s quite a balancing act. What what’s your what’s your trick for that?

Greg Skirving 3:45
Yeah, well, like I say, good. I preach a good start of day and end of day routine. Start a day and and that that could just be looking at your schedule. I’ve got that 10 o’clock meeting. I’ve got a deliverable for this. I’ve got a meeting at two and I’m going back to my old Unix days, but you need to have a demon in your crontab. That’s, that’s constantly looking at what you have on your plate and there’s can’t miss things and there’s things that you might be able to renegotiate deadlines, even with customers. Oftentimes people are put into what I call next step conflict where they’re, they’re required to be in two places at the same time. Well, fundamentally, you have a couple of opportunities to change one of those or you know, get a good appear to cover for you. But good start and end to day routine. And, and like I say, being, being, being able to adapt, being able to handle next up conflict, like I say, being able to, you know, move things around. Having a clock in the back of your head is a is a good, a good skill to have as well. You know, kind of knowing when you’re On a call when 45 minutes kind of kind of clicks and I know I’m, I’ve got to make a decision for, you know, top of the hour, am I going to make it? Am I not going to make it? So that’s, that’s a skill. I find that good, good, successful support people have. So

Charlotte Ward 5:20
I love that analogy that you have a daemon running in your crontab I’m gonna take that away.

Greg Skirving 5:29
Way back on that one.

Charlotte Ward 5:30
Yeah, yeah. Not not to infer that we are machines, but neither should be. That’s kind of the point. Right?

Greg Skirving 5:38
I think I think a couple of other things that that are important is if some people need to take lunch, leave the building, walk around, go to the gym, ride their bike, whatever. Other people, they don’t need to do it. So So I encourage find out what you need to You know, level setting in the middle of the day, sometimes people need that sometimes people don’t. And, you know, I encourage that, you know, walk around, you know, then come back recharged and you’re good for the second half of the day. Yeah,

Charlotte Ward 6:14
yeah. Yeah. Taking a bit of control over your headspace. Definitely. Thanks so much, Greg. I think I’m gonna stop there. That was perfect. I was watching the clock. I had a little demon in my crontab that was… I tell you, I haven’t heard those words since 1997.

Greg Skirving 6:36
I was you I was going way back!

Charlotte Ward 6:40
That’s it for today. Go to customersupportleaders.com/67 for the show notes, and I’ll see you next time.


Transcribed by https://otter.ai


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