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Management & Resilience; Insight from Clare Struthers

Apr 12, 2022
Management & Resilience; Insight from Clare Struthers

Today’s blog features a career journey narrative from one of Orbis’s very own. 

Clare Struthers, Director of our Glasgow office and Candidate Hub gives her insights on the importance of resilience, willingness to evolve and the ability to recognise where you can improve, even as a manager or in a senior position.

Below, Claire shares her story of the challenges and hard-earned rewards of doing the work to evolve as a manager.

I was promoted to a junior manager after being a successful hands-on biller, ‘fast tracked’ you might say. However, this turned out to be a blessing and a curse.

My first attempt at team leader on the face of it was a success. Both my rookies were No2 & No3 globally in the main billings league, not just the rookie league. However, as the team grew and I had to juggle multiple personalities and use a ‘do as I say’ management approach, the team rebelled against my management style. At the time, my management didn’t do anything, nor was I worried because I had proved I was a good manager (or so I thought) by having two top billers I had trained. So junior management continued as is for a time.

Then the 2008/9 recession hit, the team disbanded and I had to build another team, inheriting a team who were work friends with my old team. So, life managing that team started with the Senior Consultant saying on her first 1 to 1 meeting, ‘I’m not a fan of yours and I’ve heard you’re not a great manager’ to which my response was, 'I’m glad you’ve been honest and I’m sure we can work together to change that impression'.

Fast forward 1 year, the team was rebuilt, but my management style never changed and the full team rebelled against me again. This time my management took note, I owned the flaws, took it upon myself to get a management coach and really worked on myself. My manager also acted and made a peer of mine my boss! So, two significant drawbacks; firstly having to acknowledge I wasn’t a good man manager, and my peer was now my boss. I was not in a great place.

I went back hands-on, built trust in my team by doing deals, took on board some really challenging people tasks set by my management coach… Anyway, lots of tears, lots of uncomfortable chats with my boss on performance and lots of pushing myself to try new things in front of my team. Showing my vulnerabilities and management flaws was my toughest challenge to date, needing every ounce of resilience I had. It would have been easier to leave the organisation and take on a new management role somewhere else. But I knew it would happen again and if I really wanted a management career. I had to face it head-on, so I did just that.

Fast forward again a year down the line, I was nominated for team and manager of the year for the next 3 years to follow, the lady on my first day that said ‘I’m not a fan of yours and I’ve heard you’re not a great manager’ is now one of my closest friends and work allies, and will watch me walk down the aisle at my wedding next week.

So in summary you can never underestimate the power of Resilience and what you can actually achieve if you believe in yourself, and have the discipline to look inside and use your own power of resilience to trust it will see you through.

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