Posts Tagged ‘leadership’

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Video Blog : Distractions Kill Teams

January 2, 2015

To see video click – www.screencast.com/t/b9lFNBIt

Also visit:

Websites:   www.ProjectPragmatics.com  and

http://www.JohncMaxwellGroup.com/bobmaksimchuk

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The Baker’s Dozen of Coaching Leadership

May 11, 2014

1. Be Dedicated – to your client, your team, yourself. Commitment builds trust.
2. Be Curious – about your profession, your client, other fields. Learn continuously. If you think you know it all, you have limited your potential.
3. Be Humble – no matter how successful, smart, or well-known. Arrogance destroys relationships.
4. Be Energetic – Do you bring energy into the room or do you drain the life out of it?
5. Be Engaged – Your client doesn’t value an aloof advisor who provides little value.
6. Be Perceptive – See their gifts. Does your team have cheerleaders (encouragers), pragmatists (guides), jokers (morale builders), dreamers (visionaries)? Leverage these soft abilities as much as hard skills.
7. Be Empathic – See their needs. Be sure to serve their actual needs, not yours.
8. Be Resourceful – When your team has no answer and neither do you, take the initiative to go find a new option or approach for them that may be useful.
9. Be Uplifting – Don’t criticize the doubtful, the non-believers. Encourage and uplift them.
10. Be Persistent – when you hear “we’ve always done it this way”. You are a change agent. You can’t sail the seas when you are tied to the dock.
11. Be Resolute – Reject rejection. Take the high road. Repay your critics with kindness, service, and understanding.
12. Be Fun – Celebrate with your teams whenever they succeed, big or small.
13. Be Caring – Remember, they are not assets or resources. They are real people. With real lives. Just like you.

Come visit http://www.projectpragmatics.com .

 

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ScrumMaster as Shepherd

April 22, 2012

The concept of servant leadership seems to be difficult for some new ScrumMasters (and others) to fully comprehend.  It is so contrary to many corporate cultures.  So let’s take a look at another role that combines both serving and leadership behaviors: the Shepherd.

 

Some herd animals, such as sheep, have a better chance to thrive if they have a shepherd.  In order to help them thrive, a shepherd must understand the flock, just as a ScrumMaster must understand the team he/she is working with.  For example, there are many types of sheep just as there are different people with different skills and different behaviors on an agile team.  They are NOT interchangeable “resources”.

 

Flocks of sheep have certain dynamic behaviors.  Sheep tend to congregate and behave as a group once their group reaches a certain number.  A successful team needs to reach “critical mass” regarding the competencies needed to be a successful agile team.  A ScrumMaster must understand this and promote the proper composition of a team, by working to have the right sheep in the flock (e.g. motivated, highly skilled).  The ScrumMaster must also be understanding as the team goes through the well-known form/storm/perform cycle.

 

Sheep are prey animals.  In toxic corporate cultures, development teams may become prey for overzealous Project Managers or other corporate creatures.  Just as team members are not really “sheep” or “pigs” (even though we use those terms affectionately), a ScrumMaster is not a “sheep dog”.  Sheep dog is a weak analogy.  A ScrumMaster can’t just “bark” back at people in the typical corporate hierarchy – at least not for long, without being sent “out to pasture”.  The ScrumMaster needs to be a shepherd and intelligently navigate the political minefields while not letting the flock fall prey to predators of time or energy.

 

Sheep congregate often (a daily standup?) and do it well.  Sheep are gregarious when congregated.  However, the Shepherd must still work to draw out the quiet people during stand-ups or planning poker sessions.  When you lose a sheep or a team member disengages from the team or otherwise gets lost on the agile journey, the ScrumMaster must seek them out and bring them back to the flock.

 

Even these simple and cursory understandings can help the new ScrumMaster serve and lead their teams.  Serve them well shepherds and you will be on your way to servant leadership, leading your flock to those greener agile pastures.  

(See more at www.ProjectPragmatics.com .)

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The Leadership and Communication Lessons of Josey Wales – Part 3

August 27, 2010

The scene: Josey and his injured young rebel friend furtively approach a river crossing. There they meet three very interesting people – the boatman, Sim Carstairs, who ferries people across the river, Granny Hawkins, who provides supplies and “poultices” to travelers, and a fastidious carpetbagger, wearing a white suit, selling bottles of a cure-all elixir. It is these new characters, not Josey, that teach us a few interesting leadership and communication lessons. Read more…

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The Leadership and Communication Lessons of Josey Wales – Part 2

August 2, 2010

[If you missed part 1 of this series you can read it here. Spoiler alert: This series will incrementally reveal the plot of this movie. If you have not seen the movie (Where have you been?), I recommend you get the movie and enjoy it prior to reading this series.]

The scene: After his family and farm are destroyed, Josey joins with a group of rebels who fight a guerilla war against the Union. The fight drags on. Eventually, the group’s leader (Fletcher) convinces everyone, except Josey, to turn themselves in to the Union soldiers. Fletcher had negotiated amnesty for the band of rebels. What the rebels did not know was that he did it for a price. The men surrendered and were killed by the Union soldiers. Despite a valiant effort, Josey could not save them. Only he and an injured young rebel (“the boy”) escaped.

All the rebels had been betrayed by the Union (including Fletcher – he believed they would receive amnesty). But Fletcher’s indignation was quickly quelled when he received a commission in the Union army and joins with Terrell (the leader of the “Redlegs” who had destroyed Josey’s family and farm, and was now a Captain in the Union) to hunt down Josey Wales.

Lesson 4: Politics Can Trump Skills. Sad to say, but technical and leadership skills are not a guaranteed shield against common organizational practices or malicious organization politics. Mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, outsourcing and the like often harbor many such organizational decisions that may put your career on the Wheel of Fate. Don’t bury your head in the sand (i.e. your projects). Stay tuned to organizational, market, and environmental changes. These can foreshadow subsequent changes that may have a direct impact on you.

Worse yet, malicious political maneuvers can leave innocent bystanders in the ditch. When I was working as a young developer, I witnessed my first political lesson. A pair of senior staffers who had been the heroes of an initial system delivery (and rightly so) were sidelined as the organization grew and grew, bringing in new teams and managers. The pair were no longer were in the limelight receiving honors and accolades.

During the next delivery cycle, what was later discovered that in order to engineer their personal return to hero status, the pair withheld critical technical information that resulted in a key software component not delivering on schedule. When the call went out for people to help this component team, the past heroes stepped in. The new team’s work was flushed. The old guard “discovered” the “problem”, fixed it, and voila! Heroes once again.

So be careful. Safety experts will tell you that situational awareness is critical to your personal safety. It’s critical to your professional safety also.

Lesson 5: Everyone Has A Price. Fletcher had a price…actually two. One to get his men to surrender. And a higher price to ignore the Union betrayal and track down Josey. What is your price? Oh, you don’t have one? Really? Before somebody asks you to do something that you know is wrong, unjust, unethical, or even illegal, do some self examination. Know your values. Know what principles you are committed to live by. Who are you at your core and what is your code of conduct? Think this through before the pressure comes – someday it will. Stay off the slippery slope Fletcher stepped onto.

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You can, as long as you include the following complete text with it: “Bob Maksimchuk is a Principal Consultant and Founder at Project Pragmatics, LLC., specializing in helping software development teams GET WORK DONE by introducing: PRACTICAL techniques, STREAMLINED process, and FOCUSED training and mentoring, all specific to your team’s needs. Visit now at http://www.ProjectPragmatics.com. Copyright © 2010 Project Pragmatics, LLC. All rights reserved.”

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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