#15 Rolf Grunwald – Be a sparring partner
For this first episode of 2021 I have invited a very special guest – my dad! My dad has been leading teams for around 20 years at DEG, a German development bank. As a child I perceived my dad to be working long hours, spending time with his team members rather than us kids and once a year inviting his team to our home for a BBQ in the summer. But never have my dad and I really sat down to discuss about his leadership experience. During the Christmas vacation, I wanted to change that and invited him on the podcast.
In our conversation, you can hear about my dad’s rocky start as a first-time leader, how he saw his role as leader also in being a sparring partner and how it was important for him to have the people in his team feel that he has their back in difficult situations.
Enjoy the conversation!
We talk about:
- His first team and how he was thrown into the leadership role without any training
- His experience with a remote team 15 years ago in Thailand, being one of the first team leaders in his company with team members located in other countries across Asia.
- How a weekly team call was the basis for good teamwork back then and later on
- What he did to make people in his team feel that he has their back
- His philosophy how to lead teams seeing himself as a member of the team and sparring partner
- His lessons learned with regards to not letting conflicts in the team simmer too long, but rather tackle them when you first sense them
- How in hindsight he would do annual interviews with his team members differently and have more regular team time to discuss topics of team interaction
- The importance of celebrating successes and honoring the team member who achieved a certain milestone for the team
- Why a yearly BBQ with the team at home was important for him