Nicola Barbour Managing Director Spotless Spotlight Interview
Welcome to another one of our Spotless Spotlight interviews. Today, I have had the pleasure of interviewing our fantastic Managing Director Nicola Barbour. 14 years ago, Nicola came to Spotless from humble beginnings as a part-time cleaning operative. Since then, she has had a remarkable career working her way up through the business. She is an amazing presence in the company and values human connections and a personal touch to achieve incredible results. I was genuinely excited to have time out of her busy schedule to sit down with her and talk about her journey.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your career to date…
“I had been in retail for almost my whole life and then I had my son. After he was born, I decided I didn’t want to go back to retail where I would have to work weekends and have less quality time with my family. My sister-in-law then gave me a call and said she had got me a cleaning job, and I said I would do it with her till Christmas until I decided what I wanted to do with my life. Through the job I met Linda, who was a Group Manager for Spotless, and she asked me if I wanted to be a manager. At first, I refused. However, after speaking with her a few more times I decided I was going to give it a go. On my first day as a manager out with Linda, I loved the job. After accepting a cleaning job just until Christmas, I have stayed with Spotless for 14 years and worked my way up to Managing Director.”
Q: How Does it Feel Being Managing Director of Spotless?
“I’ve sometimes got imposter syndrome. I think how did I get here? I am now helping run a national company – where did that come from? For me, work ethics has a big part in it. Every time I got promoted, I had to prove that I was worthy of that promotion. So, I now find myself Managing Director with that mindset.”
Q: Tell me about the role you have as Managing Director…
“It’s a hard question to answer, no two days are the same. I look after so many areas including Aberdeen, Newcastle, Sheffield, Leeds, South West and South East England, London, and East Anglia. I work with very good managers on the ground who do their job well, which makes my life easier. I also look after some of our national clients. Every day you plan to do one thing, but then something happens, and you are firefighting that too. I think that is why I love it; no two days are the same and I love the challenge and variety. At Spotless, we are good at what we do, unexpected things do happen when you are a cleaning service- and we manage it well. Customer service is key for me, and it is something the whole business prides itself in.”
Q: What is your favourite part of your job?
“The people. Definitely the people. I am a people person; I genuinely believe in life that you are either a people person or you’re not. I love the relationships with my teams, with some I have had long-lasting friendships. You build that relationship; it starts off that they are working for you, but then they are working with you. I don’t believe in ‘being the boss’, I dislike that word. Each team in the company are part of a jigsaw to make Spotless what it is today. Everyone fits together and has their own role. I am aware I am there to lead, but I ensure that I am a supporting and friendly person to the whole Spotless team. Relationships are my strong point, and it’s the best part of being Managing Director.”
Q: Any fun or memorable moments you can recall while at Spotless?
“There have been lots. The most memorable, and it will always be with me was just before they announced me as the joint Managing Director of Spotless. I woke up at two in the morning and I clock-watched for the announcement. At nine o’clock I am wondering where the email is, I was so excited at what I had achieved I wanted to see it. After refreshing and refreshing the email came through at twenty past and it brought a lot of emotions. I never ever came into my original cleaning role thinking this would all happen; I picked up a quick cleaning job to get a bit of extra money. I was doing it until I figured out what to do. At no point did I think I would have achieved what I have. In addition, it happened on my lucky day, June 20th, so it felt amazing. When that email came through, I was like a kid at Christmas. The relief that everyone finally knew since I was dying to tell everyone. I would say it was probably one of the best moments of my life.”
Q: Do you believe that working for Spotless benefits your life?
“Yes. Everybody works for a living, but I genuinely enjoy my role. Anybody who tells you that they get up every day loving their job, I think that’s not true. But I think I am very lucky that on the whole, I love what I do. I love Spotless. Everyone expects me as MD to say that we are a great company, but I say that we are a great company as an employee too. The flexibility the role offers, the relationships I have built, and the self-satisfaction from turning tough situations around. It makes me genuinely love my job and it has benefitted my life.”
We hope you have enjoyed reading Nicola’s Spotless Spotlight interview. You can also read our past interview with our CEO Carron Henley.