In our last article, we covered the decision-making process at Nubank. Today we will continue the journey on leadership, talking about team management.
The role and responsibility of a team leader in Nubank involves several responsibilities, such as supporting the definition of value deliverables, making the proper management of a team’s time and productivity, managing dependencies, removing obstacles, supporting project management, programs, and general management, whenever necessary.
Leaders deliver value through the people they lead. Thus, among all the duties of the manager, there is also the ability to manage people and, through the duties described above, facilitate the work of the teams.
We are already approximately 8,000 Nubankers, organized into hundreds of teams. The management of all of them is focused on encouraging sense of belonging, a safe environment and the psychological safety, career, and development of all Nubankers.
In managing teams at Nubank, one of our responsibilities is to build a work environment that allows Nubankers to reach their potential by being engaged. This makes it easier to perform their daily activities in the best way possible.
We understand this engagement as the result of tangible and intangible investments made in the environment and organizational culture, which, by impacting the collaborators, create positive incentive for the teams to recurrently outdo themselves.
This process starts with hiring and developing the ideal talents for Nubank. We aim to create teams with the right size and complementary skills for each challenge. We continuously and intentionally develop the teams’ diversity and inclusion to enhance creativity in decision-making and problem-solving, representing our diverse customer base.
A team leader is actively involved in the team’s daily activities, inspiring by example, building trust, and fostering autonomy instead of micromanaging. They recognize and celebrate team efforts, prioritize team-building activities, dedicate time to learning and improvement, and mitigate work overload.
In high performing teams, we also focus on individual aspects, understanding that collective motivation results from personal dedication. This helps us create incentives, making people satisfied with their work and fostering a pleasant team environment.
These factors manifest in several ways:
One-on-one Conversations (1:1)
We take the time to get to know the people we lead and make them feel their individual needs are respected. For this, we hold recurring 1:1 conversations, where we can address matters pertinent to the professional sphere, but also creating space to establish personal ties.
In these conversations, we opt for calm, quiet, and private environments to address private matters when necessary. Each individual we lead requires specific insight into their career progress and challenges, fostering effective communication and trust.
At Nubank, we value feedback. Leaders provide and encourage feedback exchange, helping develop soft and hard skills and supporting people to step out of their comfort zones.
1:1 conversations are a crucial part of our culture here at Nubank, as we believe that by connecting with the people we lead, we can build stronger relationships and help them achieve their professional goals. In addition, 1:1 conversations give us the opportunity to understand the concerns and challenges of each person we lead. This allows us to provide the support they need to thrive in their careers. Finally, we encourage the people we lead to share their own perspectives with us, as we believe that this helps us grow and improve as leaders and as an organization.
We strive to boost team engagement, resulting in high-performed, engaged, and health teams. Engagement is crucial for maintaining work agreements and collective well-being.
We celebrate achievements, highlighting the importance of each team member. We publicly and personally acknowledge clear feedback that helps people achieve outstanding results by stepping out of their comfort zones.
We hold open sessions for team members to recognize each other and endorse collaboration factors perceived during a project’s execution.
Intentional actions in day-to-day work aim to build and maintain relationships, work agreements, and communication improvements. These practices help the team self-coordinate, recognize each other’s abilities and personalities, and develop a collectivist understanding. Strong connections between team members foster a support system and team autonomy.
Motivating teams may seem easy, but it’s not. Each person on the team has different challenges and needs constant evolution and motivation.
As team leaders, we work to create respectful and trusting environments for everyone, without any conscious or unconscious bias. This allows people to feel comfortable being who they are, without having to hide their individual characteristics.
Working in a safe environment is the starting point for the team to feel that there is psychological safety to perform their tasks. This helps the team build the confidence needed to take risks, make decisions, and feel part of a whole.
In addition, by creating a bias-free environment, we can promote diversity and inclusion in our teams. By recognizing and valuing individual differences, we can foster creativity and innovation, since different perspectives and points of view contribute to the development of solutions that are both more comprehensive and effective.
“Psychological safety is not a goal in itself, it is a mean of achieving excellent results.”.
Nubank was created with the culture of a safe and comfortable environment for everyone. One of our core values from day one is to intentionally create strong and diverse teams. Our hiring processes, trainings, and performance evaluations are focused on attracting and retaining people who share these values.
Amy Edmondson  describes psychological safety as the belief that no one will be punished or humiliated for sharing ideas, doubts, concerns, or mistakes, and that “psychologically safe teams are typically characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect, in which people feel comfortable being themselves” .
“Without trust no one feels safe to be vulnerable.” .
On a daily basis, leaders and teams are responsible for establishing ways to achieve a psychologically safe environment. Some of the practices are:
- We normalize people’s vulnerability;
- We encourage collaboration;
- We create and foster a culture of tolerance for error;
- We encourage empathetic and non-violent communication;
- We work to be examples of active listeners;
- We ask for, give, and encourage frequent feedback exchange;
The leader has to focus on making sure that the entire team has a voice and is comfortable with giving their opinion, and especially making mistakes, knowing that they will not be condemned for doing so. Therefore, we have different opinions and different views on the same subject, reaching better results when trying to solve problems that happen on a daily basis.
Career and Development
Another aspect of people management at Nubank is facilitating career development. This involves identifying individual strengths, supporting their mastery, pinpointing development opportunities, and assisting in creating plans to turn them into strongholds.
Leaders encourage and support this process in various ways, such as using development matrices to list and observe strengths, develop opportunities, and create tangible action plans for achieving said strengths. This is often associated with institutional performance cycles, accelerating individual growth and enhancing results.
Team leaders are responsible for identifying and setting appropriate challenges for each team member at every stage of their career, balancing motivation with existing possibilities in each team and aligning with role expectations and mapped skill opportunities.
We like to use one-on-one conversations to communicate evolving insights, chances to check the adequacy, and to provide clear and rich feedback.
In summary, at Nubank we greatly value the professional development and growth of the people we lead. We believe that identifying each person’s strengths and helping them to be stronger is the key to building high-performing teams and creating a culture of constant learning. Managing people is not an easy task, but we are committed to providing the tools and support needed to help the people we lead reach their full potential.
Our teams are the foundation of our success. That’s why we dedicate so much of our leaders’ efforts to empower and support teams to help us in our core mission of challenging the status quo. We do this in a sustainable manner, so that individual and collective success is reflected as institutional success and maintained over the long term.