Homophobia from Employees – how to react?

Recently, there was a case when an employee was fired from a large company for speaking aggressively on LinkedIn.


In fact, I was surprised by the reaction of some colleagues and decided to share my opinion:


1) Aggression, which is aimed at a certain large and heterogeneous group of people on the basis that is given by nature (gender, sexual preference, age, skin color, nation, etc.) is essentially close to hooliganism for no reason: such aggression does not put in the calculation of a specific person to whom it can be directed. It can be any person with different values ​​and education. Usually, it’s a normal person.
Such aggression is irrational. I think this is a sign of some kind of trauma, fear, or lack of education.


2) Such aggression devalues ​​a person, reducing his dignity to a certain sign. I have doubts that it is possible to build rational, open, positive relationships with such a person.


3) In their work, such people clearly create risks, given the fact that other team members and the customer may belong to the group. Working with such a person is a ticking time bomb. Perhaps he extends this pattern to other groups (for example, women)? I understand this reaction from the company.


About the dismissal. Here I have a twofold feeling and the question: does it make sense first to give a choice to such an aggressor: take a course with a psychologist/psychotherapist or still quit. Should the company take responsibility for the person in matters of psychological health? I don’t have an answer yet.
I am also surprised to read the opinions of other members of the IT community when they support the expression of such aggression. On the other hand, I understand that it is sometimes difficult to draw a line between freedom of expression and irrational aggression.


I also made a survey “Should the company pay attention to the psychological health of the employee?”

Out of 618 people, the answers were distributed as follows:
40% – Yes – conduct training
30% – Of course – a psychologist should be on staff
30% – No – it’s a human business

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Few opinions about Interview

I read more and more about the 4 stages of an interview, etc. I was also previously skeptical about the principle of fast hire, fast fire.

At the moment, I have two opinions on this matter.


Opinion number 1


A good interview could consist of 3 parts.

Ideally, could be reduced to one interview:
The first part (30 minutes) is HRM pre-screening, which is essentially done to save time and superficially assess the candidate / match the position and the company as a whole (soft skills). The candidate asks questions about the company. This can be done simply as a short informal acquaintance. This part is best done separately from the interview.
The second part (1.5 hours) is carried out by a similar Expert Advisor, which is one level higher. It is important to have a quick test task (30 minutes). This part will help you understand the suitability of the position (hard skills)
The third part (30 minutes) is a direct acquaintance with the future manager. This will help to understand alignment with the future objectives / values ​​of the leadership. For an employee – to get specific work. Unfortunately, this important part is often skipped because the manager is busy or even uknown. Anyway this part gives necessary specifics and can solve a lot of questions and risks in future.

In total, the optimal duration of an interview with a separate prescreening / acquaintance is 2 hours.

Anything that longer seems to me more redundant and can be minimized to this timing. Of course there are exceptions: you build rockets or is has a non-trivial position.
Anything shorther – carries certain risks and benefits.

Opinion number 2


After all the interviews I have done and the bugs caught, my slogan is:


The best test for a person is directly the work that he has to do.

I made sure that:

  • There are candidates who can go through all the stages, any tricky interviews and tests, but show their inadequacy to the work / team,
  • There are also candidates who do not disclose at the interview, but demonstrate excellent results at a specific job.

There is another important reason why employees can leave their work after an excelent interview and great manager:

Work and external factors affecting the employee are also quite dynamic things.

If a person came to the same tasks, there is a possibility that over time (and usually unexpectedly soon) they will change, like the manager, the team. Even candidates don’t know if they can cope with such changes. Only time and specific work in a specific team will tell.

As a result, I think it doesn’t make sense to scare away candidates with complex interview: you will never find all hidden stones or gold. Real work will make it clean and clear.


In fact, I think fast hire, fast fire still makes sense, no matter how brutal it sounds.

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It was a white stripe

Against the background of a decrease in connections / interactions within companies due to the coronavirus, I see a tendency towards a decrease in the values of values / attachments / loyalty of employees to the company. This greatly simplifies the attitude of employees towards changing jobs.

According to my feelings, we are only on the eve of a hiring crisis.

It seems to me that it’s time to revise your answers to the question:
“Why our company is better for an employee than company X, Y, Z”.

I see that many people have already accepted the fact that working from home is better than from the office. In fact, the quality and location of the office is no longer important, fresh coffee is not important, there are fewer intersections in extra-project activities, contacts with colleagues have become more abstract and virtual.

When a person stays at home, he definitely loses the mental connection with the context of the company, he contacts more with his personal environment (family, children, park near the house).

It seems to me that it entails a change of focus and priorities – people are more focused on themselves, on their environment, and their personal goals/comfort than on the company and its values, goals.

What’s still in the price is something that can improve the personal environment:

  1. Salary often comes to the fore. Left alone with personal space, there was a clear desire to improve and expand it.
  2. The ability to easily go to a completely different comfortable location for yourself / family (at sea) and work from there.
  3. More time for personal life, less workload (reducing the working week no longer seems fantastic)
  4. Interesting work and a good project team.
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How I was fired. Notes for juniors and managers.

Long time ago when the grass was green and I was a student, I used a chance to start my development career in a big and well known company.

Finally, after 3 month of work it was a talk with manager and I was fired.

Earlier this experience was like a black label in my hand: I was ashamed of this fact.

But now I see that dismissal is that unique experience that made me better.

Now I want to share some of my conclusions with you. I think it can be useful for young people who are starting their work path. Also it will be useful for managers.

I hope all these notes will help to resolve issues without dismissals.

Let me start with my personal faults:

1. My progress, efforts and blockers were not visible to management. I was focused just on work itself and only the final results played a big role for me. As a result, during assessment my manager had not full vision and it’s made my efforts less valuable.

Recommendations for a junior:

  • Setup a regular way (e.g meeting, report or just message in chat) with your manager/mentor where you’ll describe your current activity, achievements and blockers.

Don’t worry if your task is not completed – just share your progress.

Recommendations for a manager/mentor:

  • Setup of a clear process to communicate with your subordinate is a part of your work. Don’t forget about it! If it’s not done – it’s your fault.

2. I was too slow. It’s not a real fault: I’ve tried to do all things by myself and books. Copy-paste of others code was for me just as a crime. I was focused to do all things done without support from outside. There’re many reasons why it was so:

  • University and school taught me to achieve results based on my own skills and knowledge. As I understand now, we need time to change this mentality to became a team player.
  • Internet and sharing of information concept was quite new in this time and I preferred to work with books than internet.
  • I have asked some colleagues for help, but they were busy. It was like a silent and unfriendly atmosphere around me.

In general, it gave me a great experience since I’ve made a lot of things by hands and understood how it works inside. But still – I was slow and my achievements was small in comparison with some other people.

Recommendations for a junior:

  • Don’t hesitate to ask for help! All current goals cannot be achieved by one person – it’s a team work!

Don’t be shy if you don’t know something. It’s ok! Ask for help if needed. If your colleague is a professional – he will help or direct you to a right person.

  • Don’t hesitate to re-use the code of somebody else. It’s not a crime – the whole concept of development is basing on the code reusing. Also reusing of code – is the patter which used in different areas to learn something – e.g. painters.
  • Books is a good source of knowledge, but in a time of high speeds you also need to use fast channels of knowledge – communications and internet.
  • Internet has a lot of information to solve different problems. Google a lot to became a guru of Search =). It will allow you for find fixes of tech problems faster to be focused on a goal, but not your mistakes and lack of knowledge.

Recommendations for a manager:

  • It looks simple, but it makes sense if each junior will have a mentor who can help with answers and gives a right advice. It allows to save money spent on Junior since it will grow faster, and in the right direction. Also, busy colleagues will be not overload with unexpected questions.

Junior should have a Mentor.

  • Work to setup a friendly and gentle atmosphere inside the team. It will allow to integrate new team members faster, the team will work as a team, but not individuals.

It’s a goal of Manager to make a team work as a team, but not individuals. Team should support each team member, especially junior.

Probably, I wrote a simple things, but such simple advices can prevent a portion of negative experience.

Also, the company I left used improved their processes and added onboarding and mentorship as processes.

As a summary, I see that all this experience made me much better. Now I see how important to help and grow people. I’m extremely happy if my team members growing and solve complex and outstanding problems. It motivates and gives me outstanding energy to do my work!

Good luck and don’t forget:

Even you’re firedit will become a good and extraordinary experience later.

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Stay Self-sanitized

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!

person holding yellow and white labeled bottle
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Time Management? Really?

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. =)

round analog clock
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My Biggest Mistake

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.

Why?

  1. I thought that my decisions are clear enough even without explanation
  2. 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
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Open problem:

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.

addition black and white black and white chalk
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Big Difference

I notice it many times

There are two key types of people:

  1. People who are talking about the job
  2. People who is just do the job

I’ve noticed that people who are talking a lot before any job, spend the energy on how to avoid and delegate the work. It’s not bad, but one more strategy of life.

How to recognize them: they provide a lot of critics, they don’t want to take responsibilities, they are not proactive, they like to discuss others work, etc.

They select a “victim” role, but not “actor”.

Usually, they demotivate. Under the criticism, they like to hide their laziness or lack of their own motivation.

I respect people who take the job and move to success. This is the best example. All things in the world are done by their efforts.

They don’t search for an excuse, but ways to solve the problem.

just-do-it-hed-2013.jpg

 

Negative feedbacks

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.

Open questions:

  1. If you have tried some people for different activities, but the right place was not found: how many times you need to try?

woman punching the hand of man wearing training gloves
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Work and Horses

There are two nice proverbs about work and horses which I often share with my colleagues to describe few ideas in clear and easy way.

The first one is from Russia:

Horse worked harder than other on the farm, but don’t became a farm owner

I think it’s a good example, if you need to describe that you don’t need work harder, but more effective and smart.

Another is from the East:

Get off the horse if she died

It means that it doesn’t make sense to work on obsolete idea or goal. You need to select another one.

Sometime you need to be brave enough to realize that work you’re doing does not makes sense anymore. It looks stupid to continue with it.