Advice from A Team Lead: Why taking action creates success
Team lead, Chris, tells readers what it's like working at Apollo, and how you can control your own destiny within the company!
Chris has worked in the field for Apollo’s Merch Install team for several years. He’s worked about every retailer format from Dollar General to Target to Ace Hardware just to name a few.
Why’s he stayed so long? He stays busy.
“My only down time is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m on the road that much.”
Some field techs struggle with this. So, what is Chris doing differently that others haven’t done? Well, he states he’s made a name for himself by networking and staying open to all opportunities.
“I tell new hires the one key factor in getting work right away is to travel. If you’re not willing to travel, you’re not going to work. Just bite the bullet for the first six months and do it. Make a name for yourself. I was really fortunate because when I first started I teamed up with super experienced guys. They taught me so much. It’s important to know you have to have a good relationship with you District Manager (DM). DM’s don’t have to assign you work if they don’t want to. If you sit for a while and have connections, call other DMs or Project Managers directly. That’s what I do. I also stay well connected with other Team Leads. We call it the Team Lead grapevine. It’s good to manage those relationships well so you can stay busy.”
How does Chris keep in touch with Team Leads when he is one himself?
“Sometimes I’ll meet other team leads at my hotel, or when I randomly walk into a store. We can stay in touch online as well.”
Apollo has been trying hard to utilize the talent they have with internal crossover. Someone who’s in Merch Install may be able to work other jobs in Service and Assembly. They recognize that sometimes talent waits for their next gig so why have them wait? Rob Gilbert is the internal recruiting manager at Apollo in Tampa, so if you’re new, you can always call HR or Recruiting directly to see if you can be connected with Rob.
“I think there’s a running joke at Apollo that if you speak to anyone at HR, you’re gonna get in trouble. So, I think people try to avoid contact.”
This made me chuckle. I work with HR every day and I know they have the same goals as I do and that’s to make the company successful. We all want that. I believe sometimes people don’t have give a “soften-start up” when they reach out to corporate for things. Which brings me to another topic Chris and I discussed which was Interpersonal Skills in the workplace.
“Some people just don’t have those soft skills. There’s one team lead I know and he’s not allowed to talk to clients, so the manager appoints a person under him to do that. It would really help if people could learn that, but sometimes I think it’s just a personality thing.”
My suggestion is to fake it until you make it. Force a smile when you’re dealing with clients and managers. It may seem fake to you, but it won’t to them. Nodding, eye contact, good body language, smiling, and saying please and thank you will go a long way. Do you think anyone that first started in the military had good posture? They were forced into it. It became routine. It was learned. It’s the same for interpersonal skills. If you don’t have them, force it on yourself. Stand at attention. Say yes sir and smile!