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Top tips for leading flexible teams: insights from BT’s sales director 

In this blog we hear from Simone Chetcuti, one of the Sales Directors in the Corporate & Public Sector unit at BT Business. Simone shares her flexible working story and top tips for leading flexible teams.

6th Jun 2024

Leading flexible teams is different to in-person teams. It requires a unique approach and leadership style to ensure you’re getting the best out of your team. To find out what it takes to lead a flexible working team, we spoke to Simone Chetcuti, one of the Sales Directors in the Corporate & Public Sector unit at BT Business. In this blog, Simone shares her flexible working story and top tips for leading flexible teams.

I’m Simone Chetcuti, and I’m the Retail, Personal Consumer and Charity Director in CPS (Corporate and Public Sector). I’m responsible for leading the sales teams who serve our larger private sector organisations within these verticals.

Having been at BT for 20 years, I feel fortunate to have worked for an organisation that has always offered a flexible approach to working. This is such an important factor and is something that has certainly contributed to my decision to remain at BT as long as I have. 

Having worked in sales throughout my career, flexible working has meant I’ve been able to consider my work-life balance whilst still being able to pursue my career aspirations. This became increasingly important for me when I went on maternity leave after having my daughter seven years ago. This added a whole new dynamic to what I needed to achieve both at work and at home, and I feel fortunate to say that BT were incredibly supportive in not only helping me to return to work after twelve months of maternity leave; but also encouraging me to progress my career thereafter. Before becoming a new mum, I’d questioned whether I felt I’d be able to balance motherhood alongside a demanding career. However, I soon learned that flexible working, combined with supportive leadership, allowed me to achieve this. It can feel challenging at times, however I’ve always felt I’ve had the right support network to achieve success.

I would best describe this as being a journey of discovery. Becoming a mum to my daughter Sophia seven years ago, I did, at a point, convince myself that I wouldn’t be able to achieve a thriving career whilst being a mum to a young child. I didn’t think the two could co-exist. However, after returning from maternity leave and settling back into my role, I quickly discovered that you can in fact do both, and, do them both well. It did feel tough at times, particularly when Sophia was little, but I was fortunate enough to work alongside some great leaders at the time who really encouraged me to keep moving forwards with my career – something I am extremely grateful for. The fear crept in for a second time when I became a single parent a few years later, however again, after working through the dynamics of the new ‘juggle’, I was able to settle back into a new routine and continue with my career plans. It does take a lot of planning and organisation, but my main point of reflection has been that the fears I had conjured up in my mind around how disastrously it could all go wrong, were far worse in my head than they were the reality!

One key learning I’ve taken regards successful flexible working is around the importance of transparency. Given the nature of my role, which involves meetings with external customers, it’s been really important for me to be open and transparent around how I work to structure my time effectively. I’ve been intentional about sharing the working patterns that I need to adopt to give me the right balance between my work and home life. Giving my team clarity around this means I am then able to support them in the best way. For example, when planning to attend client meetings, my team can consider some of these more practical aspects on my behalf when meetings are being diarised. Equally, my team also understands that whilst they may see me logging on to do some work during an evening, this is a working pattern I choose to adopt as a result of my flexible working pattern – this doesn’t mean I expect them to be working after hours in the same way. I truly believe that by having this conversation proactively, this not only helps me on a very practical level, but also helps demonstrate an openness to this way of working to my broader sales team which I feel is important.

My main advice around flexible working would be to promote having the conversation. Technology is a great enabler, and so roles that have traditionally had limited flexibility, have had far more opportunity to evolve.