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Paweł Ciepliński
Front-end Developer/Team Leader
ExtraORDERnary
21.11.2023 | 6 min

We are extraORDERnary - meet our people: Paweł

Management 3.0 is a relatively new approach that significantly changes how organizations treat relations, team-building, and especially leadership. Instead of a classic top-down, often authoritarian style, leaders take more supportive roles. They focus on the well-being of team members and putting them in the best position to succeed. This so-called servant leadership style might seem challenging or even counter-intuitive to some managers who used to work in more traditional organizations. In the case of Paweł Ciepliński, it came perfectly natural. In the newest ExtraORDERnary piece, Paweł tells his story about becoming a leader, what that role means to him, and how he found his perfect fit in Order Group.

We are extraORDERnary - meet our people: Paweł - 2024 53
Table of Contents
  • How did you first become a team leader?
  • What skills define a good team leader?
  • How important is the fact that your natural leadership style fits the Order Group’s organizational culture?
  • How did you manage to do your best as a team leader in a remote working environment?
  • How do you combine being a team leader and a specialist?
  • What are your biggest challenges as a team leader?
  • How would you summarize your experience in Order Group?
  • Who would you recommend joining the team?

How did you first become a team leader?

As far as my memory goes, I always felt very comfortable around new people and in new environments, which translated perfectly into a software developer’s line of work.

In my first software job, I worked in quite a small, 10-15-person team. During that time, I’ve become the company owner’s right hand, in addition to having responsibilities as a project manager, front-end developer, and even designer. 

It was quite chaotic but a very valuable experience nonetheless. 

But even before I formally took a leader’s role, I was always a team player and an efficient communicator with a good understanding of different personalities and group dynamics. Both personally and professionally, I’ve become the type of person that people tend to trust and ask for help if they need anything. 

At some point in my pre-software life, that combination of skills and traits even led me to become a tutor. 

Eventually, in late 2017, I was asked to take a regular team leader role, and I didn’t hesitate for a moment. I immediately knew that it was what I would thrive at. 

What skills define a good team leader?

There’s no universal guideline for good leadership. What I define as good leadership most definitely wouldn't work in a hierarchical corporate structure. 

On the same note, it’s fair to say that some of my strengths and personal traits probably wouldn’t make me a good leader according to those older approaches. But in the modern organization that follows Management 3.0 and servant leadership guidelines, I fit like a glove. 

So, if you ask me what makes a good leader, I’d say that approachability is a massive part of it. I do my best to encourage conversations and make them as comfortable and efficient as possible. That’s where it all starts, after all. When team members are able to talk freely, we can discuss all the crucial issues and quickly find solutions. 

My general approach to work is another crucial element. While I strive to bring the best out of people, I also make sure that people do what’s best for them. And I can’t see that being possible without keeping a healthy work-life relationship and maintaining a zero-stress policy. 

Last but not least, there’s also something that you probably won’t find in Management 3.0 guidebooks. I think that what makes me a good leader is my appreciation of life and people in general. I take genuine joy in my role, and I feel good when others feel good. 

And I think that’s another type of trait that makes me suitable for this type of leadership and would probably disqualify me from being a traditional manager that would need a more army officer-type approach.

How important is the fact that your natural leadership style fits the Order Group’s organizational culture?

There certainly is a good fit here. Being a developer and a team leader here means that I’m simply doing what feels right to me. My professional role is an extension of who I am, and that couldn’t feel better. 

And I think there’s a great value in the fact that it’s all still treated as a process. Every few weeks, we discuss how the approach works in each team and what we can do to improve. Most importantly, we ensure that everyone in that role knows what that involves and feels comfortable about it. 

In some of my previous companies, team leaders were usually chosen due to their technical expertise and experience. While that part is always important, it’s never enough to make a good leader. As a matter of fact, some of those specialists didn’t even want to become leaders but felt like that was a necessary step in their careers. 

How did you manage to do your best as a team leader in a remote working environment?

The change wasn’t easy, even on a personal level. For someone who thrives working around people, being alone in a room was a huge difference. 

However, I managed to get past that and find new ways of communicating and socializing with the team online. I work remotely now, and I don’t feel like it’s an issue. 

And when we meet a few times a year on special occasions or workation, it feels even better. 

Workation especially can work wonders. It’s a perfect environment for people to tighten the relationships they already had, but perhaps even more importantly, to reach out to other teams and meet people that they haven’t worked with closely yet. 

How do you combine being a team leader and a specialist?

Servant leadership requires a certain level of presence from leaders. I have to be available, and I have to make sure that people know that I’m here to help them. Of course, it doesn’t mean solving everyone’s problems by myself. It’s more like a reasonable assistance. 

In my case, I’m fortunate enough to actually enjoy working with people, teaching, and helping them solve both their technical and other professional issues. 

Not everyone has that. I’ve worked with phenomenal specialists who simply lacked the will or the necessary skills to pass their knowledge to less experienced colleagues. 

What are your biggest challenges as a team leader?

As an extrovert with a group of introverts on the team, I have my personal challenge to give my team all the necessary space to feel comfortable and efficient while maintaining mutual understanding and keeping team spirit at a good level. Finding the right balance in that is not an easy feat. 

Other than that, there really isn’t much. I’m happy to say that I have a great group of people on the team, and we’ve never had any serious issues. 

How would you summarize your experience in Order Group?

I’m really happy to be here, and I have to say that the tone was set right from the get-go. 

I joined the team in July 2022, and just a couple of weeks after I started, I had to be hospitalized for a few weeks. As you may imagine, I really didn’t feel too good about that in the very first weeks at the new job. 

But the response from the entire team was terrific. I was assured by everyone - from HR to all the co-founding guys that I should not worry one bit and focus on my health. I was thankful for that, but more importantly, I immediately realized what kind of a team it was, and I was assured that I was in good company. 

I also appreciate the fact that I can be the kind of leader that I want to be here. I feel that the lack of traditional hierarchy and servant leadership approach is something that comes naturally to me, so I’m just being who I am. 

Who would you recommend joining the team?

Right after I joined the team, I had these health issues, and I immediately felt the genuine care of the people around me. 

That feeling prevailed. After more than a year here, I can say that Order Group is a perfect place for people who want to work in an atmosphere of mutual respect and care with no traditional hierarchy. 

Another key aspect is the healthy approach to work-life balance. We ensure that the quality of our work is always top, but never at the cost of anyone’s personal life. So I’d recommend working here to anyone who shares the same viewpoint. 

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