Posts Tagged ‘leader’

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Dysfunctional Delusions

November 28, 2016

If you want high performing teams, they have to be built first and foremost on a foundation of trust.  Patrick Lencioni cites the lack of trust as the first (of five) dysfunctions of a team.  The team members must feel that their other teammates will “have their back” when things get rough.  And as a manager or leader, that includes you too.  In fact, if you want to shift your organizational culture to a more empowered, trust-based culture, management must lead the way by demonstrating (not just talking about) the values and behavioral norms you want for the organization.

One key factor that trust is built on is consistency.  Are you consistent in your behavior?  Are you complimentary one moment and then arrogant or dismissive the next?  Are you puerile?  Vindictive?  People trust their leadership when the feel they know how you will react in various situations.  With trust they will feel they can bring issues to you for help when necessary without risking their positions.  If your behavior varies significantly, your teams realize they cannot understand what your reaction to any given problem will be.  They won’t feel safe to be honest with you.   In other words, they won’t trust you.

And if you think you can behave one way in front of your teams and another in private, you are deluding yourself.  When it comes to sensing duplicities, people seem to have x-ray vision.  They are very good at detecting such contrary behavior.  And when they do, trust may never develop.

To be a true leader you must build trust.  Otherwise your teams won’t progress and you’ll remain simply a taskmaster.

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Coin-Operated Agile Coaches

August 14, 2012

You must have seen one.  At a carnival, county fair, or maybe an amusement park. Sitting inside a glass enclosed box.  Bright clothing.  One hand held above a fan of sun-faded playing cards.  A customer approaches the box and drops in a coin.  In the box, the glass encased guru’s arm moves left and right.  Then out drops a slip of paper with a definitive answer to the customer’s most critical question.

You may have also seen this behavior in an agile teamroom.  Teams…are you underutilizing your coaches this way.  Coaches…do you recognize yourself?  This isn’t a question of coaching style.  This is a question of who is driving the change that the customer ostensibly wants to happen. Why else was an agile coach engaged in the first place?

Of course, coaches typically have some limits places on them by the “front office”.  Even great sports coaches like Wooden, Noll, Madden or Cowher had to work within directives from their team’s management.  But you would never see the likes of them sitting on the sidelines waiting for the players to ask them questions.

The best coaches are proactively engaged.  They are leaders.  They guide, they make changes, and they help the players get more from themselves than they realized they had.

Agile team members, don’t put your coach in a box if you want to be effective.  You were provided a coach to help you improve.  Let it happen.  And coaches, you can’t “cower” (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) under resistance from the team members nor pressure from management.  Ultimately, it’s really up to you coaches.  If you don’t actively engage and lead your teams, you won’t need a coin-operated fortune teller to know your future.

Visit www.projectpragmatics.com .

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The Leadership and Communication Lessons of Josey Wales – Part 1

July 21, 2010

Sometimes you can learn important lessons from unconventional sources. If you are unaware, the classic 1976 movie western The Outlaw Josey Wales, set near the end of the U.S. Civil War, was directed by and starred Clint Eastwood, who played the main character Josey Wales.  The writers may not have intended it; however this movie is replete with leadership and communication lessons that are applicable to executives, project managers, team members, or any of us especially in difficult times on our projects. You currently may not be in a leadership position but some day may need to lead.  All of us do need to effectively communicate with those that we work with.  You often hear the lament that technical people need to develop “soft skills”. So let’s see what we can learn from Josey Wales and … Read More