Rin Hamburgh is a business owner here in Bristol. She began as a journalist and copywriter, before founding and now leading Rin Hamburgh & Co, a strategic brand copywriting agency.
Her business specialises in supporting expert-led businesses, helping them to clarify and communicate their message and establish their brand authority using expertise-based content.
Rin is well aware that proactively nurturing her team is good for business
As a business relying entirely on the talent and enthusiasm of the people who work there, Rin is well aware that proactively nurturing her team is good for them and for her business.
The business has changed shape quite a bit since Rin chose to turn her freelance copywriting business into an agency. Now with a team of 6, Rin finds her passion is no longer just about creating brilliant copy. Writing is still hugely important – as you can see with each and every expert post that Rin shares on LinkedIn. At the same time, Rin’s interest has grows as she supports the members of the team, giving them every opportunity to grow.
I caught up with Rin to ask her about her business, the team and how working with Jewell Facilitation helped her business.
You are well known for nurturing and supporting and championing your team members. What do you think makes your team so brilliant?
I think they just are brilliant! All I’ve done is given them a safe space in which to practise, experiment, fail safely and grow.
What are the main challenges of leading a team and making sure that everyone has what they need (both logistically and in terms of the way you all work together)?
We’ve done a lot of work on understanding each other’s personality types and ways of working because often the problems that arise do so out of misunderstanding, miscommunication or simply not knowing what the other person needs.
For example, as an extrovert and a talkative sort, I’ve learned that I need to proactively ask the quieter members of the team for their views. I also need to wait while they consider their answer, rather than assuming they’ll speak up if they want to.
What are the main things that you feel are important to help a team become strong and work well?
One of our values is that ‘we work with mutual respect’ and I think that’s absolutely essential. It helps that we all have similar values, even though we’re quite diverse in terms of our backgrounds and life experiences.
When mistakes happen or things go wrong, we try to work together to see how we can all contribute to the solution, rather than assign blame. And we’re really big on creating processes so that everyone knows what they’re doing and who is responsible for what.
How do you deal with the ‘tricky’ stuff?
Honestly, I’m not naturally good at the tricky stuff! I prefer to avoid conflict and don’t like to upset people, which makes giving feedback difficult.
Fortunately I’ve got a fantastic business partner who is really skilled in this area so I’m learning as much as I can from her.
Why is nurturing your team so important to you personally? And as a business?
Personally, it’s as simple as the fact that I like to see people happy. And if I can contribute to that, even better. One of my team members has always suffered from anxiety. In the past, whenever they would go on holiday – from when they were at school through to their previous job – they would feel anxious the night before they returned and struggle to sleep. Now that’s not a problem for them.
I might not be changing the world but if I can make it even slightly better for a handful of people, that’s a win in my books.
From a business perspective, I think our culture and the way we treat people has allowed me to attract a far higher calibre of talent than I could have done otherwise. We’re still a small agency so we can’t afford to pay the high salaries (yet!) If you just compete on salary – like if you just compete on price as a brand – you can always be beaten.
It’s harder to be beaten on culture if you’ve got a good one. As an example, a few months back, one of my team told me they’d been approached by another company. The salary was more than what I could afford. They decided against making the move because they believe in what we’re doing at RH&Co and they’re happy here.
I worked with you and your team to help you explore communication styles and relationships within the team, and to understand each other’s contributions to the team.
Could you share a little about what led you to choose to work with a facilitator like me, rather than work things through yourself?
We choose to book a facilitation session with you at a point where the team had grown. However, many people had never met face to face because of the pandemic and working from home. I wanted to have a session where we could get to know each other better. But I didn’t want to lead it myself, for two reasons.
First, I’m not a natural facilitator – I talk too much!
Second, I wanted to have someone neutral asking the questions because when ‘the boss’ is in charge, it changes the dynamic. It was nice to have someone else running the show. I was able to participate as one of the team rather than the one leading.
What were the outcomes of the session with Jewell Facilitation, and how have things changed since?
I think as a leadership team particularly, we were able to see why frictions were happening. We were then more able to address issues in a way that took people’s natural working style into account.
It also clarified for me the areas where it’s good to have some diversity and those where we actually do all need to be on the same page.
Since the workshop we’ve gone from a team of 9 to a team of 6 and I would say we’re stronger than ever.
What would you say to business owners or team leaders needing to work on these things with their own team?
I imagine the difficulty facilitators have is that they can’t tell you what you’re going to get out of their work because it will absolutely depend on you and your team.
What I can say is that you will get something out of it, even if it’s not what you expected.
You won’t necessarily be able to quantify these results but you will feel them and you will see their impact.
Leadership and people management is inherently messy. A facilitator like Helene will help you make progress towards clarity and that’s worth its weight in gold.
It has been wonderful to see Rin’s business grow and thrive over the past few years. It is very satisfying to know that my facilitation skills helped keep the team moving forward.
As Rin says, what you get out of facilitation will be different depending you, your team and the challenges currently facing you. Why not book a call with me to explore some ideas and see if I can help as you nurture your team and make progress towards clarity?
Find out more about the strategic brand copywriting agency Rin Hamburgh & Co.
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