Learn how James implemented the 10 leadership laws and built a winning team at Hamilton Barnes

I joined Hamilton Barnes in 2015 as a senior consultant working in collaboration with growing organizations on specific hiring assignments, including initial expansion strategy, tactics for securing the best resource and professional delivery.

After two successful years in the job, my boss, Nick, and I started having conversations about moving into a more senior role where I would manage junior to senior consultants.

I have to say the idea of managing a team whilst doing the job didn’t appeal to me at first. I love being a recruiter. It’s a gratifying role, but it is intense. My time was already maxed out. Whilst it sounded exciting, managing a team on top of the job sounded like a lot.

I decided to focus on the job and make more money for myself and the business

Another year passed, and the management conversation continued. Nick suggested that I went on a leadership course and recommended the Team Head Coach programme. It looked great. I like the idea of combining high performing sports leadership with recruitment. It resonated with me.

I was nervous about going on the course. It was my first time on a management training course. I have to say, walking into that room for the first time, meeting other leaders in recruitment scared me a little. I was the first to arrive at the venue. The coaches immediately put me at ease.

I was concerned about being away from the office for a day. There was so much going on, and I was worried I wouldn’t switch off from work. I was surrounded by other like-minded team leaders with similar challenges, which was great to know.

Within minutes, we were into the training. There was nowhere to hide. The trainers created a highly competitive environment on the first day. On reflection, this was a test. Whilst the course teaches management skills, it also focuses on mindset and psychology. And your emotions are tested!

The 5-day course was just what I needed – it had a great mix of group work, practical skills, theory and lots of practice, especially coaching skills.

I was keen to put it into practice with my colleagues; it wasn’t as easy as I thought. Being in a senior role felt awkward. The conversations were clunky at first. I felt like I was managing my mates. Managing the line between friends and employees is challenging. Looking back, it was mostly in my head. I feared getting it wrong or annoying my team.

A few things stood out for me on the course: ‘ ask, don’t tell’. It’s a simple approach and felt very empowering. It was awkward at first – but eventually, I developed the team game plan, people on the team started coming forward with better ideas. I began to find my flow, and I could sense the team respected me as their manager.

Using the C.O.P.E. model is a game-changer; it really helps slow things down and ensures everyone is on the same page. It also makes the execution of the game plan much faster. I also loved the idea of knowing which of the five hats to wear and when, the strategist, recruiter, trainer, bench coach and mentor. The coaches taught me how to systemize my leadership so that I could focus on my billing too.

The billing manager role is not easy, arguably the most challenging job in recruitment. But with a suitable tool kit and mindset, it can be done. I love the role and seeing my team grow. I have grown and developed as a leader and feel so much more confident.

I decided to do the course again in 2020 with my team. This time it was online due to Covid, I didn’t believe it could work as well as the in-person course, but I actually found it even better. It was great to work with my team, and we are now all on the same page with leadership tools.

The course has helped me scale my team, and as a result, I am very proud to say that I have recently been promoted again to Associate Director. I am grateful to Nick for believing in me and the Team Head Coach course for giving me the tool kit to ensure I can do the job to the best of my ability.