When the going gets tough, the tough get going? No, the tough ask for help.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going? No, the tough ask for help.

Published on 26th April 2017

In September 2016, I was promoted to Managing Director of Ambition UK. It was an incredibly exciting time for me and the result of my hard work, dedication and passion for the job as well as the continued support of the Chief Executive and my previous MD.

I knew what lay ahead; the learning curve, even more hard work, long hours, catching up on emails/work at weekends...but what I wasn’t quite prepared for was that while my work life was going from strength to strength, my personal life would go in the opposite direction and that my Ambition team would step up and support me in such an amazing way.

My much-loved mum was diagnosed with a rare tumour in June 2016. We were told that the only cure was to remove it. Unfortunately, it grew too quickly and was too close to the brain to operate. We were told that chemotherapy would be needed to try and shrink the tumour and then the operation could be reconsidered. The tumour was very aggressive, the chemotherapy didn’t shrink it and radiotherapy was suggested as a last resort. This didn’t work and after what felt like an eternity of seeing my beautiful, fearless, strong mum go through so much pain and heartache, yet remaining positive and, as always, thinking and focusing on everyone else, my mum passed away on 2nd February 2017.    

During this difficult time, I started my role as a new Managing Director. It was great to be able to immerse myself in work when not with mum. When I was in the hospital and, later, the hospice with her, I was able to work remotely. She was always very interested in what I was doing and asked me questions about my management team so it felt like she knew them all.

I can honestly say that without my Ambition team, I would not have been able to keep my head above water, never mind run a successful recruitment company. My management team stepped up in a way that I could only have dreamed of. They were supportive and worked incredibly hard to allow me to spend time with my mum when she was at end of life. They spoke to me at various times of the night and day to work around when I could speak to them. I am eternally grateful that I had such a great team.

The experience made me realise that being the Managing Director of a company is about working as part of a team. It is allowing people to help you and not thinking that you should know the answer to everything, that you aren’t infallible, that sometimes you do make mistakes. 

It is about recognising that you can listen to other people and take on board their ideas, acknowledge other people’s input, and this in turn makes you a stronger manager.

My team supported me, backed me up and showed me loyalty, all attributes that you can’t buy and that we have worked hard to ingrain as part of our Ambition culture. Coming back into the office I was shown compassion and empathy, something again that makes me proud to be part of an organisation like ours. Being surrounded by such a great people made me realise that we truly are a team. People work hard to make this a great place to work and I feel lucky and honoured to be the leader of Ambition UK.

So, when the going gets tough, don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.