Women in Leadership series: Florence Agbom
‘I’m becoming more self-aware, in particular, understanding my own emotions.’
Tell us about yourself/your career journey at Sky
My background is in streaming videos – I have a PhD in Electronics Systems Engineering, specialising in Quality of Experience on mobile content delivery systems. My role at Sky involves delivering the best streaming experience to our customers, whether they are watching on a mobile phone or on a big screen.
I joined Sky seven years ago as a Research Analyst because there were opportunities to progress my career within the organisation. My role back then involved monitoring the development of emerging video technologies such as 3D television and home automation. After a while, my role was move to Sky Products where I led various video quality related projects. Particularly, I was instrumental in standardising the streaming experience for our customers. From Sky Products, I moved to Technology with my current role as a Streaming Quality Manager.
What’s been the best thing about the course for you?
It is difficult to mention just one because there are a few of them. First, I have always wanted to progress my career to a senior leadership role. But, I had no clues on what skills I needed and how to navigate my way to such roles. This course is already helping me to identify the qualities of a good leader, and teaching me how to become one. I have the support from my line manager, I have a mentor and a coach to guide me on my career progression and the challenges I encounter at work.
Another best thing about the course is that most of the theories learnt are relevant and, at the same time, practical for my work activities. For example, we learnt some frameworks for problem solving and decision making, and within a week, I was already using one of these (root cause analysis) at work. It involves being able to quickly identify and communicate an issue, simplify it, and narrow down the root cause from a set of variables.
Lastly, it is amazing to see women on the course are already progressing their careers. This course is giving me all opportunities to put my best foot forward. I think it is great that Sky is taking the initiative to retain talent.
Have you learnt anything about yourself since being on the programme?
A lot! I’m becoming more self-aware, in particular, understanding my own emotions. More importantly, I have learnt the importance of trying to understand the emotions of the people I work with, in order to improve work productivity.
Another thing I’ve learnt is self-reflection. The course requires we keep a reflective learning log. This is really helping to improve my time management and prioritisation skills. I constantly ask myself the questions… “What does success look like for me? and “What do I need to achieve today?” This not only helps me to benchmark myself, but it enables me to recognise that not every day will be as productive as I would have intended it to be, and that’s also OK.
My image of success is evolving as I go through the programme – and I’m learning the skills I need to hopefully achieve it!
What do you think makes a great leader?
For someone to be a great leader, they first need to have a desire to become one, since not everyone wants to be a leader. A good leader must be a very good listener and a good follower as there is so much that we can learn from others.
A great leader must genuinely feel to put other people and their wellbeing first. A great leader empowers others to bring out the best versions of themselves. A great leader is ready to share successes as well as failures so others can learn from them.
What has been the biggest challenge?
Time management. The programme requires a good amount of time to work through the modules, workshops, learning groups, and the webinars, whilst at the same time being on top of my day job. This can be difficult to manage at times. That said, the programme has allowed me to try out different time management approaches. For example, I take a study leave once a fortnight to work through the course modules. It is all about being disciplined with the utilisation of one’s time. If something is important to you, you’ll create the time for it.
What would you say to anyone thinking of putting themselves forward for a similar course in the future?
It is a serious commitment. This is something to consider carefully because it requires the commitment and the desire to develop good leadership skills.