This post is not about viruses =) Let me share an important note I’ve made during the work process setup for any activities or projects I manage.
Any work process should be self-sanitized: it should have a step to review the process, detect problems and have a mechanism to apply fixes for them.
Why do we need to? Self-sanitizing makes the process adaptable to a reality, fix the issues, make it more convenient for participants and etc.
This point looks like a Retrospective meeting in SCRUM, but it’s not only about SCRUM.
I think any long-running work process should follow this rule.
For example, after each estimation, I do a retrospective with the team to detect all pains we met during the process . I’ve created a spreadsheet where I accumulate all sensible action items to fix raised problems. Also, I have a reminder to take at least one item and perform it. Now the process is much better than it was before. It’s alive and convinient!
Some of my colleagues asked me about the approaches I use to manage my time. They used well-known words like “Time Management”. So let me share my personal vision on time management.
Before I put here my tips and suggestions let me start with the most important question:
Why do I need any kind of Time Management?
To answer let’s rephrase it: Why do I need to manage the time I have? Since the management of time itself does make sense without activities, let’s rephrase it again: Why do I need to arrange the time I spend on activities?
After analyzing myself I’ve found the following amazing and really simple answer. Don’t forget that it’s my personal answer, but probably, it can be used by you:
I need to manage (perform/reject/delay) my activities in time to fill my life with HAPPINESS.
I think this sentence can be selected as the general goal of the whole Time Management.
The big point I’ve realized:
Personal HAPPINESS is the key criteria of management of time. Not performance, not even successfull results.
So the key question can be answered by “Time Management” looks like this:
How to arrange all activities of my day/week/life to be HAPPY
You can figure out your own question if you’ll translate what HAPPINESS means for you.
Happiness for me is:
I want to have fun while doing my activities: I want to feel the energy, interest while performing the activity. I want to do it without stress.
I want to see some valuable results of my activities.
I want to grow, get new experience while performing my activities.
I want to effectively complete my activities to have time for new activities which will bring me new experience and happiness.
Life should be balanced. I want to have a life where my work, personal life, and future goals will be in balance.
Also, I’ve realized another important point:
In the context of day/week/life, we have a limited resource – Time. But if we’re speaking about Time Management and Happiness
TIME is not the only resource we need to manage!
We need also manage our emotional ENERGY.
Such kind of Energy is a resource for proactivity, entusiasm, interest, creativity etc. Without these attributes, time and happiness does make sense.
My key idea is that energy has a close connection with the feeling of happiness.
To continue, let me mention some important properties of the Energy I see:
Activities can not only consume our energy but produce – fill us with energy
Performing an activity without energy makes us fill unhappy.
Performing of activity with Energy makes us happier.
Results of the activity are more valuable if we spend more energy on doing it
People trust us more if they fill our energy and our actions equipped by emotions.
As a result, understanding of Time Management is hidden in the answer to the question:
How can I arrange my activities in time to do them with maximum energy in a long term?
I’ve added “in the long term” because we need to stay fulfilled by energy not only one day but the whole life. In another case, it will be a way of emotional burnout.
Now when the question is defined I want to describe my answer. But let me do in another post. =)
Some time ago I identified one the biggest mistake I’ve made in working with colleagues:
I provided a lack of explanation and emotional background for my decisions.
I’ve brought a person directly to the top of thoughts in a very fast way.
I thought that my decisions are clear enough even without explanation
I didn’t want to waste the time of me and colleagues to explain the whole context and the way I’ve used to make my decision
In many cases, a key part of decision making is based on personal emotions and feelings. I decided to hide this subjective part for some reason: my vision was that decisions made based on emotions and feelings are subjective and will be not supported by colleagues. Another reason: it’s usual in our world to hide emotions. Why? It’s a good topic for the next post.
I used the same approach for a long time before I’ve realized:
Colleagues are struggling with me because my decisions were unclear for them. They didn’t make the same logical path to the decision. As a result, all my results were not natural, but synthetic from their perspective. They didn’t trust me. Now: I’m proving my personal logical path to the decision I made. It’s amazing: people understand me much better. They don’t argue over my decision but provide logical counter-arguments against some points of my logical path.
It’s become clear to me that if I’ll save time during an explanation of my decision or idea, later I’ll need much more time and emotions for a long discussion and arguing. Now: I don’t care how much time I need for explanation, I put this decision to my colleagues: they need to decide to hear my explanation or stop me if they catch the idea.
Emotions and personal feelings play a big role in many decisions. Avoiding them in explanation makes the result not clear. People will just don’t trust it. From the other side hiding of emotions is not good for your emotional state. It’s depreciating for yourself. Psychology says the right thing: don’t hesitate to describe your emotions. Now: I’m honest with my colleagues: I put my emotions and feelings in the logical path to my decision. And it’s awesome. I’m totally clear to them and it’s much easy for them to support my decision and ideas.
As a short summary if you want to see people understanding you and following your ideas:
Don’t hesitate to use the time of your colleagues for honest explanation of your decisions.
Also, the idea can look like this
To understand you, people should go through the path you’ve made.
If you always provide a whole path to the solution to your colleagues, remember:
It’s just YOUR path and it was just YOUR efforts to build it.
Sometimes the problem should stay unexplained to let people decide which path to choose or build their own and get new experience. Don’t take away such an opportunity from your colleagues.
For the last years, I’ve received multiple negative feedbacks about colleagues whom I’ve planned to involve or already involved in my projects.
Feedbacks were provided by experienced managers and it was logically to trust them, but I’ve made another decision:
To build my own opinion I’ve decided to work with people at first. Even more, I gave them an area for creativity and decision making. I gave them my trust.
After some time it demonstrated that people I’ve selected made a great work!
Yes – they made mistakes.
Yes – they have weaknesses.
But when I’ve found the right work for them, their positive qualities became apparent and weaknesses became uncritical. Finally, having freedom for creativity they achieved a wonderful result. Their interest in the work and the desire to do it well surpassed the shortcomings.
I learned them from this very important lesson:
Right work for the right people. It’s the task of a manager to make it possible.
Unfortunately, some managers forget about it. Impressed by the mistakes and shortcomings of people, they decide to select a simples way: abandon further work with them and give them negative feedback. Such a decision looks sad since can broke the career path of an employee. From my current perspective, it speaks about the lack of management skills and should be improved.
Before providing negative feedback a manager should:
Ask yourself if the employee has the right work?
Do I need to give him a chance with another task?
Additionally, I remember a good note of a successful sports coach:
Excelent coach should be able to win the game even with a team that he did not choose.
That means that even without selection you need to find the way how to win.
In addition to the previous point, it includes improving each team member.
As a manager you need to invest in your employees to make them better.
Yeah, it’s hardest part of management work. You need to make deeper investigations instead of simple rotation.
As a summary, please note:
Each negative feedback you provide is a minus in your own karma and professionalism.
If you have tried some people for different activities, but the right place was not found: how many times you need to try?
During my work career as a manager and leader I saw the biggest mistake ordinary done by the young people:
After a mistake, they try to hide it orlie to me.
Doing that, they are breaking the most important fundamental thing of any relationship including work:
Trust is a fundamental thing which makes things work.
Let me provide some arguments if it’s not clear:
In management you cannot do all things by yourself, as a result, you need to delegate. Not all things can be checked – you need just to trust. No trust – no delegation and probably no management. Maybe guillotine on the backyard can fix it 😉
Any kind of work processes or any relationships is based on agreements and rules. Most of them are not built-in or automated. You need just to trust people to make these processes work. No trust – no work processes. It works for coding as well.
Human is really emotional and unstable by nature. The only indicator which says that you can work with a person or build any relationships is a reputation based on trust of other people. No trust – no reputation. No reputation – no trust and relationships. It’s a cycle which makes things work.
What I see: young people don’t understand that if they’ve created a problem in some technical or organizational area their liying pushes the problem to the new level and breaks any relationships.
The consequences of lying often outweigh the cost of mistake. They become irreversible.
As a result, let me share the message with all young people to make them avoid the worst behavioral pattern there are planning to use:
Don’t lie even in small things. Be brave to admit your mistakes and take responsibility for them.
Don’t be afraid to entrust yourself to people and they will trust you.
Follow these rule even in front of a tough manager or leader. It will show your strength twice.
Once you will lie – your reputation will be hard to restore.
During my work, I’ve made many interviews with the candidates.
Most of them were for my projects.
It’s a really important fact since it gave me an understanding of my mistakes and successes: I’ve worked closely with the people I’ve selected.
After all these experience I want to share some of my conclusions about interviews:
Avoid situations and questions which cause pity for the candidate or make him feel bad. Don’t ask deep questions if you know that candidate is weak in the area etc. Results: all these bad feelings will not affect your decision and it will be objective. From another hand, the candidate will be not demotivated and will show his best.
Candidate should be motivated to get the job. He should demonstrate an interest in the work described by you. Results: if the candidate has no motivation even from the start- it’s a small chance that you’ll change it in the future. If the candidate is not motivated after the interview – you need to reject him and think if your speech about the future work was motivative. This is the next point.
Your speech about future work should inspire. You should be motivated to find the candidate and say correct words for each of them. Results: the candidate will feel it and choose your offer if you’ll make it.
The best question for an interview is a question related to future work, without a single answer, but with a range of answers which are depending on the knowledge of the candidate. Don’t be focused on deep details or logical games if it’s not specific of your work. Range of answers will give a room for creativity. Results: it gives you much more information about candidate knowledge in the area you really need.
Pay attention to the soft skills of the candidate. It’s critical since most future problems with all employees are not in the technical area, but with communications, responsibility, ability to support your team culture, etc. In my practice, I split the interview into 2 parts. 1st part is just to detect soft skills. Results: you will save your time and nerves.
Be open with the candidate. Don’t lie about future work. Result: the candidate will not leave the job if he made a balanced choice knowing of all future challenges and profits.
Mentor the candidate in a friendly manner. Provide him technical advice, recommend some books to read, etc. Make him feel that he leaves the interview with the new knowledge, in a good mood. Results: even if he will not pass, it’s a high chance that he will be back with the new knowledge.
Make a short practical test. Prepare some technical task which is close to the real work. See point 4 from above. I prefer to leave the candidate alone for 20 minutes for some code refactoring. Result: the real work is the best test for the skills. This is the next point.
Finally, I want to highlight the following conclusions I made:
The best check for the candidate is a real job.
Unfortunately, exists such type of people who can speak nice and pass all your questions, but the real job is hard for them. Anyway, be ready that all issues will appear during the real work with the candidate.
The recommendation of the candidate is highly important. Especially from a trusted person.
Try to get feedback about the candidate from the past co-workers. It will give you really strong arguments for your decision.
Trust your feelings and intuition.
A big piece of our experience is hidden inside of intuition. Some candidates will cause you to doubt, although all questions will be well answered. Don’t ignore your intuition. I prefer to have one more interview later when the reason of doubt will be clarified and should be checked. After some time I follow the rule – I reject the candidate if I have doubts.
Listen to each other! Good luck with the interviews!