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  1. #1
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Default Help a noob boss here with a straightforward question

    I haven't given credit where credit is due while in a leadership position. I can't criticize like a peer here - people expect me to be fair and supportive. Instead I've critizied. So.. it's weekend now, and I have to find something good to say when I'm back on the project on Wednesday.

    The lack of support on my part is due to my misunderstanding of the project issues. I've apologized but also pointed out why the problem didn't need to occur in the first place. No-one's lost temper and theres no major drama, but I'm looking forward to reconciling any differences there are improving the team spirit.

    I believe I should be prepared to recieve more critizism than I give without seeing that as a huge problem. Other than that, I should give credit to everyone who's participated towards project goals. What else is there? Of course I'm willing to show my support and do everything that needs to be done with it.

    Ideas?
    (Edit: did my straightforward question get drowned in text? here it is: What steps should I take to restore the lost team spirit & confidence in the group cohesion & mutual trust in this situation?)

  2. #2
    Kraken down on piracy Lux's Avatar
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    @Santtu, was a goal hit or missed? Are you training people, or developing them? What is the role you play in this group? If you answer these for me, I'll have a better thought process.
    "It is not length of life, but depth of life." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Thought breeds thought." ~ Henry David Thoreau

  3. #3
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Easiest way I know of to improve morale - break out that Fi and get to work figuring out the inherent strengths and deep passions/motivations of each team member. Write them a note saying why you appreciate that about them / how it contributes to the overall team effort.

    Also I'm not sure I'm totally clear on the situation but it sounds like maybe you could make it especially clear that the line of contact to you is open should these people need support in the future and you're not immediately available.

  4. #4
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    @Lux, we're a week or two late from delivering some functionality to a software product we're doing, though the milestone is not an important one and the overall project goals will be met. As for job title, I have to attempt a translation. Lead developer? The project has one overall manager, but I have to develop technology as well as to integrate & guide each member's work efforts towards a working solution, as well as give some of the members tasks and communicate everyone my vision about this.

    What's happened, my responsibilities were poorly communicated, the delay occured and those I was responsible of giving tasks to didn't have much to do for a week. I struggled to re-write much of the work they did and criticized their work quality while doing it. I was under some some critizism myself because of the delay, so after a while I wanted to divert some of that negative attention away from me.

    Apparently, those whom I'm responsible for giving tasks for didn't have anything to do with the miscommunication, but they've taken some of the heat and might probably feel undervalued right now. I didn't even know they were expecting me to give tasks right away, I thought they had some other deal with the project manager. However, lot of blame has been cast, and everyone seemed fine with it until the moment when I returned back some of it. I'm kind of thick-skinned here and I haven't acted out out hatred or bad feelings or anything, I'd just wish everyone got realistic with the problems with having and not filling the team's communication channels with their complaints. Okay, they've been mostly helpful, not as much complaining, but I'm just kind of tired of hearing all that.

    Perhaps I just didn't know that listening to complaints should be such a big part of my job. Project has some 8 people in it, I'm directly responsible for 2 persons and also of the main technical decisions.

  5. #5
    resonance entropie's Avatar
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    Listening to complaints is a major boss job. Its the reason why all other people arent the boss because they can only complain and dont change things for the better. Your major job is to logically analyze the critic and evaluate if its justified. You can do that on a subjective basis, so there is no guidebook for that. When people start to unreasonable criticize or dont stop criticizing tho when you have given room to them, then you need to show your dark side. Before that tho, open door policy should be your thing.

    Most people think being a boss is easy, but its three times more hard than being the employee. Bosses have to do a lot of tasks as well, the normal employee is too lazy of. Many people who get in boss positions too expect too much from themselves and try to be something like a super-father for their team. Thats wrong, you need to know your tasks as a boss.

    Your tasks are:
    - to formulate roadmaps to the goals you get from upper management to complete a project and see that they are fulfilled
    - if you are upper management you need to formulate goals and direct them to your sub bosses, upper management shouldnt be concerned with the execution of projects that is middle management work
    - you should be there for critic, have an open-door policy or not. If not you should give your people once in a while the chance for feedback. When you enter a new team you always will be overwhelmed by people complaining about stuff which complexity you dont understand yet, cause you are new. Take your time, listen to all of it and form your own image. Dont judge or evaluate it, just listen to people, get to now the setting and warm up. When you feel you understand the situation then start acting.
    - dont get involved too much in the complexity of personal situations. Nail people down for the bottom line of the problem and keep to that. You always need to keep a personal distance to your peons otherwise you'll loose the boss respect
    - Dont question yourself in front of the peons. When your notice that your decision was shit in a moment, you havent taken enough time to learn about the situation first. Take more time then to learn about almost all variables, get to know the team, have personal interviews with all members to get to know them, their hobbies and what they like, so you get a feeling for the job. Before you arent at least somewhat sure to know the team, project and problems, do not make grave decisions
    - Be a boss and not a father. Being a boss means being an ass from time, accept that or you arent boss material

    Hope that helps a bit, dont be too hard on yourself, everyone needs time to learn. Just take that time before you start to make decisions. And then act accordingly to your own personality. Leadership always means imposing ones own personality onto others, there is no guidebook for leadership than your own personality. And that needs to be cut out for the job with the heart in the right place. But from what I read from you, I think it is.
    [URL]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEBvftJUwDw&t=0s[/URL]

  6. #6
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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    Thanks @skylights, thanks @entropie, that helps a lot. I think I know much of what I need to do now and how to do it.

  7. #7
    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    Ota kritiikki rakentavasti, äläkä henkilökohtasesti. Krediitit tulee massejen muodossa.
    "Where wisdom reigns, there is no conflict between thinking and feeling."
    — C.G. Jung

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  8. #8
    filling some space UnitOfPopulation's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    I'd be solution focused and task centred, its the only way to go and it gets things done or at least clearly identifies what needs to be done and by whom, and it avoids any hurt feelings, problem centred thinking or discouragement.

    Encouragement and discouragement are the biggest things that I've ever encountered on either side of any project work, although they are not really considered in a lot of depth by either business or therapeutic texts on motivation.

    You cant support failure, you cant be supportive of unmet goals or targets, even if its possible to seperate that from the individuals involved, their personalities etc. So a solution and future/moving on focus is needed. The most important thing to avoid is hostility or just the outbreak of some kind of war footing, were all feedback is a shooting match, not simply critical because that's actually fine I think so long as its constructive, no need to mince words, in doing so you create a localised PC which will eventually get everyones backs up.

  10. #10
    Kraken down on piracy Lux's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Santtu View Post
    @Lux, we're a week or two late from delivering some functionality to a software product we're doing, though the milestone is not an important one and the overall project goals will be met. As for job title, I have to attempt a translation. Lead developer? The project has one overall manager, but I have to develop technology as well as to integrate & guide each member's work efforts towards a working solution, as well as give some of the members tasks and communicate everyone my vision about this.

    What's happened, my responsibilities were poorly communicated, the delay occured and those I was responsible of giving tasks to didn't have much to do for a week. I struggled to re-write much of the work they did and criticized their work quality while doing it. I was under some some critizism myself because of the delay, so after a while I wanted to divert some of that negative attention away from me.

    Apparently, those whom I'm responsible for giving tasks for didn't have anything to do with the miscommunication, but they've taken some of the heat and might probably feel undervalued right now. I didn't even know they were expecting me to give tasks right away, I thought they had some other deal with the project manager. However, lot of blame has been cast, and everyone seemed fine with it until the moment when I returned back some of it. I'm kind of thick-skinned here and I haven't acted out out hatred or bad feelings or anything, I'd just wish everyone got realistic with the problems with having and not filling the team's communication channels with their complaints. Okay, they've been mostly helpful, not as much complaining, but I'm just kind of tired of hearing all that.

    Perhaps I just didn't know that listening to complaints should be such a big part of my job. Project has some 8 people in it, I'm directly responsible for 2 persons and also of the main technical decisions.
    From my experience of giving tasks to people I am the boss of and also being in charge of the quality of work from the project, I found that in the beginning I made mistakes because I was learning. Once I owned up to the mistakes I'd made I resolved to leading others in a different way from there on out. What has worked for me very well is to point out when people do things well, and choose what to ignore. I only mention if someone has done something wrong if it seriously necessary. In a group project environment your people will be more apt to do a better quality job when they feel encouraged and that they're appreciated. People need to know you notice the good things too. This builds trust for the next project as well as the current one. You can say the same thing in different ways. "You fucked this up. It needs to be fixed." or "Oh, I see the problem here, how do you think we should fix this? *Listen to their answer* *If no answer* What if we____? *They agree because they wouldn't be on the project if they had no idea how to do it* "Great, I know that this is handled, have this part done by _____" *set a deadline* Stay away from very soft or very harsh language.

    Guide the communication with the thought of 'if I make this person wrong will they either want to help me or to fix the situation?' Also, people are motivated in different ways: Achievement, Affiliation, and Power (according to 1 theory), I have found this to be true to a very large extent. Focus on what motivates them and attach the goals of the project to this, it makes people want to work harder because they are more involved personally.

    Also about the complaints part... I listen when it pertains but I'll call people out on it not being effective or efficient to be gossiping or complaining. I get them to realize it stifles productivity and thus their advancement - especially with Achievement motivated people, which I primarily work with.
    Last edited by Lux; 12-01-2012 at 07:26 PM. Reason: Spelling...
    "It is not length of life, but depth of life." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

    "Thought breeds thought." ~ Henry David Thoreau

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