Why you should make leaders of your team

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Katherin Schuppener 25 May, 2021 43 - 4 min read
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An operational environment is a challenging workplace. There are multiple daily deadlines, unexpected issues and the constant pressure of keeping orders on-time and complete. We make sure our customers get their groceries on-time but a day’s operation at Picnic would fall apart without the right leaders. Fortunately, we don’t need to look far to find new people to take on responsible roles.

We nurture, grow and develop our young team. This approach strengthens our own culture while showing people what they’re really capable of. Based on ability, drive and determination, we make leaders of our team.

Unlock hidden talent

Across Picnic’s supply chain there is hidden talent waiting to be unlocked. We’ve got the people to prove it. There are Distribution Managers who began as Runners, Operational Supervisors who were once Shoppers and leaders throughout the teams who were once working part-time. We’re constantly on the lookout for giving people an opportunity to show what they’re made of.

But apart from strengthening Picnic, what makes internal recruitment really important?

Teach people to believe in themselves

Often, people don’t realise what they can achieve. A little encouragement and a push in the right direction allows your team to see what they’re capable of. In my experience, when you trust someone with responsibility, they rise to the challenge and outdo their own expectations. They learn to cope with the stress and develop a cool composure in the face of pressing deadlines.

A few months ago, when I approached someone about becoming a supervisor, she told me: “I don’t think I’m ready, but if you think I’m ready then I trust you.” She’s doing a fantastic job and has demonstrated herself as a great supervisor and a real leader.

Leadership stimulates creativity

It’s never a walk in the park to take on a leadership role. With empowerment comes great responsibility and you’re expected to take ownership when things don’t go to plan. However, research shows that empowering people also leads to creative thinking and encourages decision making.

This is perfect for an environment like Picnic’s Fulfilment Centres because we work on continuously improving workflow and finding efficiency gainers. When we put people in leadership roles, we see an increase in positive projects. People across the supply chain come up with great ideas that quickly become implemented.

“Captains know every little bit of the processes because we worked our way up. Combine this with being able to take a step back and analyse processes from a distance, the captains are in a great position to make improvements. We have the freedom to run projects and make workflow easier and more efficient.”

Rik Bruinenberg, Captain

Positivity is contagious

It’s a huge boost to your self-esteem when you find out you can do something you never thought you were capable of. This, in turn, has other positive implications. It gives you more faith in your own thinking and judgement and ultimately leads you to make better decisions. Feeling confident and being positive is contagious. It’s a ripple effect. Once people feel your good energy, it rubs off on everyone around you and stimulates better work.

“When there were many new Trainees at Picnic, I started helping out the Trainers. It was good for me because, in Hungary, I used to be a teacher. I thought ‘Yes, now I can explain something again, I can teach new skills to people and watch them improve.’ Now, I’m a Trainer in training and I’ll be official next week.”

Rita Morvai, Trainer (Officially)

Lead, don’t just be in charge

There’s a difference between being a leader and telling people what to do. This is especially relevant for internal recruitment. From one day to the next, someone might go from being everyone’s colleague to a team lead. And it’s hard to demand respect from the people you were literally just working side-by-side with.

Many skills are learnt on the go, but as our internal recruitment flow increases, we’ve introduced training programmes to teach people leadership tools. They develop their decision-making skills, learn how to resolve conflict and get to grips with more strategic thinking.

“In 2015, I started in Nijkerk as a Shopper. Within half a year, the leadership team asked me to become a Captain and it wasn’t long until I was supervising FC1 in Utrecht. It was stressful at the beginning, but with workshops and training, people who take on responsibility are being taught to be leaders, instead of a boss.”

Bart Lok, Supervisor

Continuing the Picnic culture

Picnic is still an evolving company. By giving responsibility to our team, we’re creating tomorrow’s leaders of Picnic’s operation. This strengthens the foundation of our organisation and shows people what they’re really capable of. When we continue with this attitude, Picnic’s supply chain will always be made up of a team that’s confident, responsible and up for whatever the day throws at them.

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