A new organization, a new team, remote work. None of these factors could shadow the team-building skills of Sathya Prakash Ulaganathan, which has fetched him the Team Player of the Year award for the year 2021 – 22. Winning during a year that saw drastic changes, especially in networking, Sathya shares his recipe for a great team and more. Read on…
1. Congratulations on the team player of the year award. Can you tell us about your team and the projects that you are involved in?
I have been leading a back-end development team that is involved in a standardization framework project. We have 3 sub-teams under this, comprising of 4 members. I am continuing on this project since I began my career at Soliton, and so I share a very close bond with the team members.
2. In WFH mode, networking and collaboration have been very difficult, with team members working from different places. You joined the company just before the pandemic. How did you manage to build a great team rapport?
Yes, it was a bit difficult with me being new to the company and the team. My first goal was to break the ice. So, we started with casual video calls (and continue even today) which greatly helped us bond.
Also, giving the team the space to set their work schedules and agreeing to meet or connect on common working hours, brought in better productivity and comfort within the team.
3. How do you onboard a new member into your team, especially virtually?
I have one-on-one meetings with every new member and also encourage the team members to connect with each other. Involving them in every team meeting is very important for them to understand what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. This gives them the ‘big picture’ understanding.
4. How do you keep your team motivated or boosted when they are low or unable to achieve a goal?
Our first step is to analyze what went wrong through a thorough retrospection, based on which we decide on action items or understand key learnings. The idea is to accept, learn and proceed.
5. What does your typical day look like?
I begin work at around 10.30 am with a daily sync-up meeting with the team. It helps me and my team plan our day. I segregate the rest of my day based on priorities and break my first session at 1 pm. I resume by 2 pm and close my day at around 8.30 pm with intermittent breaks during the evening.
6. What are your other interests/hobbies?
I love to play sports- cricket, badminton, and football. We sometimes even play UNO over our weekly video calls!
7. Lastly, what are the golden rules that you generally follow or believe in for building a great team rapport?
Feedback- Feedback must always be two-way. I schedule regular one-on-one meetings to get and give feedback, which helps build a better team.
Listen more. Speak less.
Respect individual talent– It is not only necessary for the Team Lead to know each one in the team but more important for the entire team to know who everyone is, and what each one is strong at. This is what builds a great team.