Meet Stef Roelandt, Project Leader for the Engineering division at ALTEN Belgium, and discover the role of a Regional Leader through his point of view!
What is your actual position? For how long have you been a consultant at ALTEN?
I started as an Electronics engineer at ALTEN in 2017. In the past three years, my interests moved from electronics design to project management, and I had the opportunity to learn and execute this on my work projects and follow PRINCE 2 project management certified lessons via the ALTEN Academy. I am on my 4th project for ALTEN and in the meantime, I got a certificate in PRINCE 2 Foundation & Practitioner. I am currently working as a Project Leader in Manufacturing Development.
Can you tell us more about the role of a Regional Leader?
Some consultants are working on projects with only a few people from ALTEN or even sometimes alone. To gather these people, who are all working for ALTEN at different customer sites within the same region, the Regional Leader foresees regular after-work events or team buildings. The idea is to make them feel part of the ALTEN team, even though they work separately. A regional leader is a consultant who voluntarily organises these events, welcomes newcomers in the region, and helps with small consultant tasks or day-to-day problems.
The Regional Leader function is similar to the one of a Site Leader but includes consultants working at smaller customers’, in different locations, within the same region.
How did you end up in this position?
On my first projects, we were not many ALTEN consultants at the customer’s site. I felt like it created a bigger distance with ALTEN. So, when the position of Regional Leader opened, my manager asked me if I would be interested in the engineering division in East and West Flanders. I agreed because I wanted to help out and bring together colleagues working on smaller customer projects.
What is your role between ALTEN and the consultants?
Hierarchically, there is no difference between me and the other consultants. I am just helping with administrative topics like timesheets, MPO, expense notes, and other consultant-related tasks, which can help business managers focus more on their core tasks. During their mission, I organise some regular follow-ups with consultants on my perimeter to see if they feel good in their project and within ALTEN.
What are the main skills you need to be a good regional leader?
The most important skills are to be sociable and open to listen to other people. Also, some organisational skills are needed to prepare some activities.
Why do you think this position is beneficial? What are the main challenges you face as a regional leader?
As mentioned before, I knew how it felt to work with few ALTEN colleagues on a project and having someone with experience, who you can talk to and ask questions to can be very helpful. I also think you should feel part of the company you work for and this way you get to know more colleagues with similar interests.
When I compare the function to a Site Leader, the main challenge is that not all consultants are on the same customer site: a quick talk by the coffee machine or between two meetings is not possible as a Regional Leader. You have to try to do the same job, to check-up on people and bring them together, but without seeing them in person every day.
How do you balance both of your positions?
My main focus is still the day-to-day function as a consultant Project Leader. The challenge is to balance as best possible between both. Usually, I try to focus on the position of Regional Leader in moments with a smaller workload!
What do you like about it?
I was already involved to help ALTEN as an Ambassador and I thought this way I could provide additional help. What I like the most about the position is getting to know new colleagues and trying to make them feel welcome.
Why would you recommend it to anyone?
You can help people feel more like part of the company and you get to choose which team-building activities you would like to do.
>>> Interested to discover more? Read our interview of two Site Leaders <<<