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.

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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?
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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 ūüėČ
  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.

Even one good word

The emotion of this week:

Even one positive feedback can give you enough energy to move to your goal.

As a result, don’t skimp on a good word. Say it even “in credit”!

Perhaps it will serve as the basis for someone’s goals or dreams.

P.S. don’t hesitate to say “Thank you” at least¬† ūüėČ

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Don’t panic

In our world, a lot of things disturb us from the way to our goals. We call them problems. And it’ usual.

Work problems are usual.

We don’t like them or even scared, but in most cases, problems are resolvable and not dangerous for life.¬† Anyway, some people try to switch on panic.

In nature it works as life protector: if anything dangerous – you’re running away with screaming. But hey,¬† it’s useless in your workplace!

Panic as protection mechanism is useless regarding to work problems.

I see the following types of people in the context of behavior if they meet problems:

  • Resonator – emotional person who makes hipe and panic around the problem. He can even resolve it, but it makes stress, disturbs and demotivates his colleagues.
  • Jammer – emotionally stable person who reduces the panic around the problem or just don’t care about it. They can abstract himself and makes possible to resolve the problem without stress. From my experience, it brings more profit than working in panic.

Panic is really dangerous since it transmits by communication. It looks like a virus.

Yeh, one of the way to avoid it is to separate Resonators from communication chains.

As a result, if you’ve Resonators on the project it’s a high chance that the team will jump out from the board even before the riffs.

Panic is doubly dangerous since often it can NOT be stopped just by words – it’s very deep inside of the mind.

The best what Resonator can do is to work it out with a psychologist. The team is often helpless here. By the way, the workplace is not the right place for psychology practice.

What I can say now:

Resonators are dangerous and should be controlled or even separated from the team at all.

Especially if you have many of them in communication chains.

Another big problem if the team leader or manager is Resonator

In this case, I can only suggest

Run away from manager-Resonator. In another case, you need to have iron nerves.

From another perspective, if you see that you became Resonator, calm down an stay Jammer! Don’t panic, keep it simple!

If it doesn’t work for you, let’s start to work it out with a psychologist, but not with the team! Good luck!

Open questions:

  • Should the manager take psychology responsibilities or not?
  • What is the most intelligent way to control/separate Resonators?
  • How to make the work with managers-Resonators comfortable?
  • Is small controlled panic is ok as an alarm of problem existence?
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Photo by Oliver Sjöström, Instagram: @ollivves, Website: https://ollivves.com/

All you need is..

I’m often asking myself:

What can motivate to work for a long time?

Let me list here some well-known motivators:

  • Money? Partly. It accelerates for short period. If it’s enough money, people are focused on other things, but we can say for sure: if your efforts not paid enough – it demotivates.
  • Work itself? Agree..it motivates if it gives abilities to grow and ways to apply your knowledge.
  • Team? Agree. It works, if your team helps you, adds challenge.
  • Work environment. It’s not the top motivator but make sense.
  • etc

Every time I write down these points I have the feeling that I’ve missed something really important.

One fine day, my colleagues shared with me their problems like below:

  • My opinion was ignored in the area where I’m expert
  • I receive no feedback about my efforts. Even no “Thank you”.
  • I see no appreciation when I work on the weekend

I don’t know why, but after these words, my eyes opened:

Often people need nothing from you, but RESPECT.

They don’t need money, they need just your attention.

And now if you look back on motivators you will see that all of them are part of the same picture: all of these points exist if your company respects you.

Now let me summarize my personal feelings:

Respect is the best thing what motivates for a long period.

On another hand the most demotivative thing is Disrespect.

Let me describe areas where Respect should be demonstrated:

  1. Respect for your work efforts and achievements: your efforts and achievements are not ignored, but evaluated with appropriate feedback and salary. Your past achievements are not forgotten as well.
  2. Respect for your professional opinion: your opinion and knowledge are not ignored, but used in the right place.
  3. Respect for your time: the time you have is important and carefully used by colleagues.
  4. Respect for your personality: your individuality, personal feelings and goals are not ignored, but respected.

And now let me add a short conclusion:

Don’t forget to demonstrate your Respect. It’s highly important for your collegues.

If your manager demonstrates disrespect – it’s totally wrong.¬† You have the rights to ask him for respect, for feedback or attention at least.

Let me end with the nice phrase from the Godfather movie:

… But, now you come to me, and you say: “Don Corleone, give me justice.” But you don’t ask with respect.

Please see the whole scene. I think it can be a good definition of “Respect” and how it’s important.

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What is your orientation?

I often notice that people can be separated into the following groups based on how they get satisfaction from work they do.

  1. Tool-orientated
  2. Process-oritented
  3. Goal-oriented

Let me describe what I mean.  Imagine that a project or a business is a marathon with the finish line.

  1. Tool-orientated people. They like to run in their special¬†boots and sportswear. During the project development, they enjoy playing with the “tool”: it can be some process methodology, framework, service etc. The big concern that they are just focused on playing. If the new tool will arrive and not used – they will be really unhappy and leave the marathon before the finish line. Do they bring profit? Yes, of course: they are brave to use new technologies and they are geeks, they like to dive deep into the details. I think many good experts started in this group.
  2. Process-oriented¬†people like just to run in their own manner… doesn’t matter¬†where is the finish line. They¬†are interested in some¬†work area of the project and they do it in their own way.¬† They do it well, not restricted by tools and have a good vision of the process they do.¬† The problem is that they can forget about the work goal. Additionally, they are losing their satisfaction if it’s not possible to make things in their way. From another side, they do they work and will go till the finish line. Not in the top, but still with good result. It depends on the trainer who will remind them about the goals ūüėČ
  3. Finally, Goal-oriented people. They like to meet¬†the finish line … anyway. As a result, they are winners and they like it.¬†It doesn’t matter what tool to use and how. The Goal is their God.¬† What could be wrong?¬† They’re using not perfect tools, they can use them in a wrong way, they can bring down¬†other runners. Yes, they are not perfect. But hey… winners are not judged!¬† The project is completed. It’s good for management, good for the customer and…¬† quite stressy for the project team ūüėČ

Of course, people are not dedicated just to one group and the project is not just marathon.

All people make some profit for the project, especially in the right place.

But let’s be frank:

If you need to win, you need to be a Goal-oriented person.

Make your choice, but don’t be indifferent¬†to your work!

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