Adjusting Your Interaction Style

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

In a dynamic environment a team needs to be continually learning. A team that isn’t learning well risks making ill-informed choices, waiting to fail.

Take time to look at how and what your team is learning and help them focus on the right things. Adjust your style to support, amplify and adapt to the growth of your team.

Learning in a team environment

Whilst learning happens naturally whilst doing, it’s worth asking: what's your team learning and is the team learning well? With this information you choose to can engage with the team and help them with their skill acquisition and knowledge sharing.

There’s a simple participation model of skill learning I like to use: 'See one, Share one, Lead one' (adapted from the medical school learning model). Key for me is it’s hands-on nature and how it helps to generate conversations through questions, guidance and feedback. Conversations engage people in learning. Either as an expert or a facilitator, your conversations have a huge effect on the learning that happens.

Leading and Delegating

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

A team that relies on its leader rather than learning to run itself is a team that's likely to fail. 

Building self reliance in your teams means they can work independently. In order to do that sometimes you need to build will and sometimes build skill.

The leader's choice: Facilitate or Direct

We have a choice when leading. Support the team and their abilities to get the job done, or to direct, using our experience to guide the team.

Sometimes there is the need is for direction and focus, declaring the goal and how we'll get there. At others, the capabilities to get the job done are there in the team, all that's needed is support or a little structure.

“Facilitate where they can, lead where they can’t.” is guide that keeps me on the straight and narrow. It helps me to make a key assessment and a decision: do I get out of the way or do I show them what needs to be done.

Of course it's not always that clear cut. It takes time to get to know where a group has great capabilities and give them the space to act. Even harder is to look deeper into the relationship and work out how to grow that independence.

Catastrophe and Engagement

Thursday, 2 October 2014

This is the second part of a series on Leading and Guiding Groups The first covered Safety and Enjoyment as an important part of the learning dynamic.

Pressure effects performance. Consider the demands placed on the individuals in teams and understand how it effects their performance.
Original Source unknown (I have a copy of a copy)
please contact me if you can attribute.

Manage your ability to code

As workers, our ability to deliver is affected by what is asked of us. Under increasing demand, we move from disengagement through stimulated engagement and into increasingly effective focus. However as the pressure becomes higher still, the ability to deliver drops. Initially it hits reductions in capability, but leads towards complete collapse as demand keeps rising.

This diagram helped me focus on my state of mind, when I was learning to manage myself better. Understanding where I was on the curve allowed me to make better decisions about taking on work or asking for help.

New book: Talking with Tech Leads (From Novices to Practitioners)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Pat Kua has just published a new book: Talking with Tech Leads.

Pat spent a huge slice of time meeting and interviewing Tech Leads, finding out their secret sauce, and discovering their advice for others. He's collated and boiled down those opinions to talk about the journey Tech Leads take and their lessons learnt.

I was lucky to be included in the interviews and be one of the 38 Tech leads featured in the book.

You can read a preview here.

Safe Enjoyable Learning

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

This is the first part of a series of posts on Leading and Guiding Groups. In the series we'll be walking through the tools and techniques I've found that have helped me build teams and direct groups successfully.

As a coach or leader the most important thing that you can do is to create a safe space for enjoyable learning and working.

Hold your team and teach them to support each other. They will learn, create and grow.

The most important job

When starting my training as a paddle-sports coach I was told:
“The most important job you can do is to ensure people are safe and having fun. If you do this and nothing else, there is a good chance the group will be learning”

On the water I could see how people functioned differently when they were out of their safe environment. Their behaviour and choices changed, and their ability to apply their skills and learnings fell: regressing to basic skills and easy-to-avoid mistakes.

I could see how trust played a part in teaching kayaking groups, but how did it apply to a work environment?