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.

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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.

Microservices architecture: What the gurus say about it

via Microservices architecture: What the gurus say about it

Great article from my perspective.

Looks like herbertograca has more interesting things to read about architecture and development approaches.

brown concrete structural walls
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Never, Never Do This

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 or lie 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:

  1. 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 😉
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Be careful with that.

Few notes about Interviews

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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!