Welcome to the latest edition of “Through the Leader’s Lens”! Join us as we venture into the realm of inspiring leadership with Yoel Israel, the Founder & CEO of WadiDigital. In this insightful interview, Yoel opens up about his unique approach to creating and maintaining a collaborative team environment. He sheds light on the significance of effective communication, goal alignment, and trust-building that lead to the extraordinary success of WadiDigital in the digital landscape.
Yoel shares his strategies for ensuring every team member at WadiDigital understands their goals and works harmoniously towards achieving them. Yoel uncovered his secret trust-building approach on how he fosters a positive work environment in a fully remote setup. Let’s dive right in!
What is your leadership philosophy when it comes to creating and maintaining a collaborative and aligned team environment?
In order for a team to be aligned, the first thing is that you need to be ensure that a team can communicate freely and openly as they need. If they feel comfortable communicating as they wish, and they set see clear goals and objectives of what they’re trying to do, then naturally they’ll be able to collaborate better and be more aligned because they have the same goal and they all feel like they can express themselves completely, fully and openly.
How do you ensure that every team member is aware of their individual goals, as well as the team’s goals, and that they are working towards achieving them?
We organize clear division of responsibilities and what goals are. The goals is to serve the client. Each client has unique KPIs and goals and then our teams work together in order to be able to ensure that we get those goals. They’re not on an individual basis, but they’re on a client focused basis.
How do you build and maintain trust with your team members to create a positive work environment?
We are 100% remote and 100% high trust. In order for us to create and maintain a positive work environment, what we need to do is trust our team members. We don’t track their time, we just ensure that they show up to their calls, they do their work, they serve the clients, everything’s great- and we do feedback calls with clients to ensure that. The trust within my our team is to know that if you need something, they’re there. You can jump on a video call at any moment. We get together for team building activities once a month.
How do you manage conflicts or disagreements within the team to ensure that everyone is working together effectively?
When we have conflicts, disagreements within the team, not everyone’s working together effectively, what we do is we bring the people on that might have any conflicts together on a call and we address them openly. No conversation is taboo. We understand and accept that people have different perspectives, just opinions of different experiences, and it may lead to conflict. That’s normal in your personal life, that’s normal in your family, that’s normal in your relationships, and it’s also normal at work. It’s all about having an open communication so we can address them and unpack them together.
How do you promote team building/bonding?
We have team outings once a month or so where the team get together in person in a fun environment. We have a 10 minute morning call with the entire company twice a week, just to chit-chat and see each-other. Whenever we have a new hire, we do an hour-long call with the whole team, and the most recent employee brings an ice-breaker which we all participate in. When someone leaves the company, we do a company call, raise a glass and send them out with good wishes.
How do you help your team manage the constantly overload of information both within your organization and from external sources?
We curate information that they need to know. We have proactive ongoing training so they don’t need to go and look for sources for things to learn on their own. We also enable our team by using AI, ChatGPT, etc. We encourage their own learning on their own and we’re very supportive of it, but we’re always training up our team all the time.
As a manager, how do you decide which tasks, projects or initiatives to prioritize on?
Our goal is to make progress on tasks that are not urgent but very important. This allows us to focus very much on the long term. When we’re not busy always putting out fires, we are able to build proper processes and structures to prevent those fires in the future. So we’re always thinking ahead and staying ahead.
What are some of the key challenges you have faced in leading a team, and how did you overcome them?
A challenge is that everyone has a different skill set and way of doing things. We can have two people with the same role serving two different clients, and because of two different personalities, they’ll have different ways of doing that. We overcome this challenge by creating general processes, playbooks and tasks that our team can do, but that they can put in their own form of creativity and their own personality and their own way to execute those tasks. Then they don’t feel like robots and it gives them a way to also to feel like they’re being challenged and actually adding their unique perspective and value and not another cog in the machine.
Looking back at your career, were there any managers that were influential to your growth and your management style today?
I had one very good boss. His name was Dennis Rosen. We worked for Xerox in Philadelphia. He always encouraged me to learn. He shared with me books. He shared with me ideas. He knew I was a self learner and guided me on the things that I needed to learn so I could become a good entrepreneur.
A heartfelt thank you to Yoel Israel, the Founder & CEO of WadiDigital, for generously sharing his transformative leadership strategies and experiences. Through fostering open communication, trust, and a sense of belonging, Yoel has steered WadiDigital to remarkable heights in the digital landscape. As we conclude this enriching edition of “Through the Leader’s Lens,” we are truly inspired by Yoel’s dedication to innovation and team empowerment.
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