Just another blog…

Leadership

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It’s been a number of weeks now since my last post, although I’ve been trying to blog regularly sometimes it drops down on my list of priorities! I do enjoy blogging, it helps me think about situations outside of the busy work life and often helps me put things in perspective or even see a different perspective. Priorities affect all of us inside and outside of work, we constantly make decisions to do one activity before others, and I know I’ve failed many times at trying to do too many things at once!

Stress has become a popular topic with recent studies and findings presented at tech conferences over the world. We’re talking about stress more which is allowing us to more open about how it affects many of us in the workplace. Stress itself can be good for us in moderation to give us focus, but of course our… Continue reading

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Geographically distributed teams are commonplace, for some larger teams you could say the sun never goes down on them. There are positives to having teams distributed across different timezones but there are negatives too, even if the teams are in the same timezone but located in different places you lose a certain dynamic in the team. It’s not a surprise that some organisations try to co-locate teams allowing them to self-organise and collaborate together more easily.

Co-location is not always possible, which means a strategy needs to be embraced for the distributed teams. Distributed teams will vary in many ways and one of the biggest barriers to team cohesion is ensuring everyone feels part of the team. If you have one location that has over 60% of the team and other people scattered around, those individuals or smaller groups, are in danger of being isolated.

One area that helps break… Continue reading

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When leading one-on-ones I’ve tried different ways to be engaged with the conversation while also attempting to capture points we discussed. One-on-ones can cover a range of topics rapidly so unless you have a very good memory…I don’t…notes are important, especially for any actions that need to be taken.

When I started out as a manager I did go through a stage of not taking notes. I’ve said I don’t have a great memory so this wasn’t one of my better decisions! The conversation was the priority to me, I was focused on being engaged with the other person so didn’t want to distract myself. I took a notepad with me but only jotted down actions I needed to do. On the long term though I had nothing to look back on when review time came, only my bad memory! Most of the feedback was based on comments from other… Continue reading

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Psychology and mental health issues are being discussed more now as our understanding improves. As awareness grows organisations are recognizing how the culture they create can directly impact the mental health of employees. Cognitive resources play an essential part of this and in our daily health, abuse of these resources could result in serious problems for the individual so an understanding is key. Starting with a definition, cognitive is:

Psychological processes involved in acquisition and understanding of knowledge, formation of beliefs and attitudes, and decision making and problem solving. They are distinct from emotional and volitional processes involved in wanting and intending.

Hopefully from that description we can understand how cognitive resources are used in everyday life – in and outside work! Decision making and problem solving are part of daily life. Look back on your last couple of days, you’ll probably remember exact points where you were interrupted while… Continue reading

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Here are a couple of resources that might be useful when transitioning from a developer role into management. I never put a plan together when I made the transition, even though I knew that management was the correct career path for me, a plan would have helped! Just visualizing progress and having more of a structured study plan can make a big difference. But, even now, as I found out, these resources are helpful for existing managers to step back and evaluate any areas that could be improved.

These resources are also be helpful if you’re unsure a management position is for you, they offer good tips to determine if the step into management is really the right one.

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Do you enjoy having one-on-ones? If you see them as “getting in the way” then maybe a re-think is needed on getting value out of them. One-on-ones are different from the usual meetings, you can run them how you want; they can be structured or casual conversations, they can happen around a desk or on giant bean bags, they could be short or feel like they take forever! Over time I’ve experienced almost every variety, but this post isn’t about which of these is right or wrong but about how important these meetings are. At one point in my career my manager didn’t have regular one-on-ones with me, in retrospect this wasn’t a good choice for either of us!

Teams only make progress through the work of the people so any issues can impact performance. If these issues are not visible then it can be a mystery where the problem… Continue reading

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I’ve always thought of ‘Positive Thinking’ as some psychobabble that I don’t have time for! I think positive thoughts and smile at people…what more do you want! But, I have to confess, reading Harvard Business Review’s recent post – The Powerful Effect of Noticing Good Things at Work – helped me understand the impact positive memories can have on stress. It also made me think how mangers play a big part in this on those around them. Are we installing positive or negatives memories on our teams?

I’ve described the importance of observing in a manager’s role, this helps building habits of spotting anything different or new around you. Even noticing a tiniest thing could have a positive influence on someone else. Does someone have a new shirt or haircut, did someone in your team go out of there way to help someone else, or did someone pro-actively make… Continue reading