Congratulations to Philippa Stoate on her promotion to Senior Manager of our Midlands Pubic Sector Legal division.
We spoke to Philippa about her career with us.
Success as a team
Helping others to get promoted and work their way through their milestones is the whole reason that I wanted to become a Manager; seeing the team’s successes and their happiness when they hit a big milestone is always something that I feel proud about. I’ve managed our Midlands Public Sector Legal team for a long time and have developed it to the stage when it recently formed a second team, and Will was promoted to manage it. Seeing Will grow from having only joined the sector two and a half years ago, with no knowledge of what we did, to now being a successful Manager himself, is brilliant.
Becoming a new Manager was an exciting and proud moment for me, but one of the biggest challenges was learning how to manage people in different ways; the individuals on your team are different, so you must adapt your teaching style and management to every single person. In addition, it’s important to understand that everyone is human and will have good days and bad days, people management is unpredictable and you don’t know what’s going on in everyone’s lives. The power of listening is key and you need to make sure your team knows that they can come to you if they’ve got a problem, and that they feel valued and their point of views are heard.
We have a significant market share and people often ask, ‘How do you do it?’ My response to this is that I’m not the only person responsible for our success: it’s my team. Everyone has a part to play and their contributions are valuable. We’ve reached a place where we have a very high retention and everyone is working towards the same goal. For me it’s about seeing the people come through, hit their milestones and be the top of their game.
Learning from challenges
A big challenge was having a baby and coming back to work as a Mum. Having been here for twelve years, you build up an extensive understanding of the sector, the people involved, and the latest updates on our vacancies. Being away for that length of time meant I had gaps in knowledge and it was quite a challenge to rebuild that confidence and get back into the groove. On top of that, juggling both home and work life was a challenge; beforehand my career was my main focus, whereas now I’ve got to share it!
Emma has been my Manager throughout my Venn Group career, so we’ve always worked closely together. She has always been very supportive and seeing her successfully navigate work and family life has been very encouraging. I didn’t have a legal background, so when I joined the team it was all new to me, and as Emma had developed our Legal teams from scratch, learning from her and being a part of what she started and helping it grow to what it is now has been great!I like the fact that the type of people that we’re recruiting for in Public Sector Legal make a big positive impact. For example, Childcare Solicitors support children in very difficult situations, and it feels like we are indirectly helping in that situation.
From a team management perspective, Emma would let me make my own mistakes and learn from them. She’s never been somebody who would micromanage to the point where we could never do anything wrong. Letting me learn from mistakes and do better next time is the bigger gain. I use that approach with my team now, if they ask me a question, I put it back on them to get them thinking; it’s natural to want to give people the answer, but it’s much better and will make a bigger impact if they have come to that decision themselves.
It's important to take yourself out of your comfort zone and look for any opportunity to learn and take on new information. No one in their career can say that they’ve learned everything they need to, there are always going to be things you can change or develop, so it helps to move beyond the familiar.