Team leader Johny: “Young technicians can always count on me”
For the last few years Johny Amelynck has been a production team leader at Unilin, a job he does with heart and soul. Nevertheless, he never would have switched to this role if his colleagues hadn’t stimulated him. Now he is fully convinced he made the right choice: “It’s wonderful that my employer gives me the trust to look for ways of improving the machines and the quality of our products.”
“Twenty years ago I started in the division Unilin Flooring as a machine operator/forklift driver. Then I worked for nine years as a team mechanic at Unilin Panels. It was a varied job that I really loved because I got to know all departments.”
Team leader at colleagues’ request
Four years ago Johny was asked if he’d be interested in a job as team leader. A decision he didn’t take lightly, he recalls. “Personally I had no ambition whatsoever to take up this role but after months of careful reflection and talking to colleagues I decided to take the plunge. My colleagues were very supportive: ‘That’s just the thing for you’, they said. And that settled it.”
Thanks to Johny’s extensive experience and his familiarity with all departments, he got started as a team leader after a shortened training programme - normally the training lasts a full year. He hasn’t regretted his decision for a single second. “It’s a job with plenty of challenges and responsibility. I monitor everything from A to Z, across the entire site. Sometimes that comes with a bit of healthy stress because things can get hectic, but that’s one of the things I really like about the job and I also enjoy the managing aspect.”
Searching for improvements
The biggest challenge? That’s also his favourite part: actively looking for solutions and improvements. “It’s wonderful that my employer gives me the trust and the freedom to look for ways of improving the machines and the quality of our products.” It gives me a kick that I can say that in those four years I have managed to achieve a few things.
Building your own team
This is largely owed to the team he has at his disposal to help make things happen. “That’s another advantage of being a team leader: you get to work with a team. To work well together you must be a good listener and communicate clearly.”
Also important: not being afraid to raise issues that are going wrong in order to find solutions. “As the first point of contact, it’s essential to have people skills and keep a cool head in stressful situations. It’s a skill I acquired back when I was a mechanic. I liked to take initiative and help my colleagues. They listened to me because I had experience.” Experience he likes to share with the young technicians. “They know they can always count on me, we’ve got a great collaboration going.”
Cycling with colleagues
In his spare time Johny rides his bike to relax. On average he cycles some 200 kilometres per week. “Working in shifts makes it easier to plan bike rides”, which explains how he can pedal some 8,000 kilometres per year.
Some of those kilometres he racks up in the company of colleagues. “Together with a colleague I organise the Unilin Cycling Challenge. Colleagues from the different divisions go on a 250 km bicycle ride and we usually stop off at one of the Unilin plants. The ultimate teambuilding event!”, he laughs.
As this year is the tenth edition, the organisers are going the extra mile: “On 20 May we’re cycling to the Mur de Huy. Most of the participants are taking the bus back home but some twenty lunatics are planning to cycle to different Unilin sites in one week’s time for a grand total of 1,300 kilometres.”