My First Year as a Team Lead


Tips and Tricks for the Team Leads of Tomorrow | Mathias Vermeiren

Growth is key at Tobania. And what better way to grow than by learning from fellow Tobians? Since the two amazingly-motivated Tobians Ken Van Den Bossche and Bjorn Pyck will be taking on the role of Team Lead, we asked Mathias Vermeiren – who has been in this job for a year now –  what they can expect.


Can you briefly introduce yourself, Mathias?

I am Mathias, 27 years old and I live in Erpe-Mere with my partner. In my free time (read: rare) I really enjoy going out for dinner, planning a movie night or going somewhere where there is water like a pool, lake, river or the sea. I have been working at Tobania since December 2017, which is my first and only employer since the beginning of my professional career.

What did your Tobania career look like until today?

I started at the Belfius project as 1st Line Support Officer. After 2 years, I moved over to ING to support the Welcome Team (onboarding of professional clients) and Privalis (ING branches in court). After these experiences, the time had come to explore some new paths, so I took up the challenge of stepping into IT. And there I was at YPTO (NMBS). As 1st Line Support Engineer and SPOC on this project, I got noticed a bit more. As a result, I got the opportunity of taking up my next challenge…. getting started as a Team Leader!


You have been working as a Team Leader for one year now. How has Tobania supported you in this?

Since my start at Tobania, I have been supported by many, many people. Some have already left us; the others have proved right. 😊 I’m thinking of HR BPs, Payroll, Fleet, IT… Most importantly, I had a lot of support from ValĂ©rie Rotiers (Manager Operations Centre). She provided me with insights, ways of working and many tips and tricks. In addition, I never hesitated to explore on my own and talk to unknown colleagues, networking as they say.


What makes this role of Team Leader so special to you?

Two days are never the same. It makes time fly and you forget to watch the time or even go home (or maybe that was at some of our parties). I love having a challenging job, where pressure is on. Another aspect I love is the balanced mix of meetings, administration and people-related elements.


What do you think is your most important soft skill as a Team Leader?

Being true and respectful.


What keeps you calm in stressful times?

Quite a paradox, but coffee, coffee and some more coffee is what keeps me calm in stressful times. Another thing that keeps me sane in stressful moments is keeping a clear overview of my TO DO’s (Tasks in Outlook is my best friend).

“KUDOS to ValĂ©rie Rotiers (Manager Operations Centre). She provided me with insights, ways of working and many tips and tricks.”

What does your team look like?

Recently, the Isabel team (located at Tobania’s Headquarters – Operations Centre) has become my entire focus project. My closest team consists of 10 young, dynamic but hard-working people. They take care of the 1st line customer service.


The further located part consists of 7 people (based in Isabel Group HQ) and takes care of the 2nd line and KYC. We’ll soon have our first team building together so I can’t wait to get to know this crazy bunch!


How do you ensure that your team is and remains connected?

Communication is very important to keep the team connected. It creates the open and honest culture that I value so much.


How do you try to create a feedback culture?

Short follow-ups ensure that the team knows I am involved. This provides a low threshold when it comes to offering feedback. Openness also has a major part to play here.


Can you give an example of a team effort of the past year that you are especially proud of?

Of course, something fun-related! I was very proud to have organised our SnowWorld Teambuilding in Landgraaf together with Karen De Groef and the marketing team. We had several teams from the Operations Centre competing that day. Watching the cross teams connect made me a very happy and proud person.


What management skill do you hope to develop for yourself in the coming years?

I know there is still room for improvement on several of my management skills. Let’s say I would start by enhancing my people management skills, followed by strategic management.


Got any tips for people who are also taking on the role?

  • Enjoy what you’re doing.
  • Giving respect is getting respect.
  • Catch information, add some of your secret spices and share it again.
  • Have a beer on time!


Thank you, Mathias, for this honest interview!

See you on our next party!