London Big Ben House of Parlament

Agile Micromanagement

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Intro

Today I wanted to deal with my (admittedly empirically not relevant) experience about new leadership styles. Especially with young executives I increasingly experience that the style is more authoritarian, but agility and NewWork tries to shape the external image. This is the pendant of pseudo agile for Management styles.

Agile micromanagement?

What is striking? Individual elements from the agile environment are taken up and consciously communicated to the outside world. However, central conditions are not fulfilled. The most important of these is trust.

For NewWork it is not enough to include

😘

in the work instructions

When dealing with new working conditions, it is not enough to just set up a table football table or to use the new “Duzen” [german] to pretend a closeness that is not lived.
Newwork for me (I unfortunately don’t know a central definition) means, among other things, creating new freedom for employees. There are still goals for this, but it is no longer checked on a step-by-step basis what the status is like. The boss (manager…) is there to avoid problems. Conversely, this also means that employees have confidence in their manager.


Newwork also means checking process steps for meaningfulness. Especially in large corporations, measurements and excelsheets have established themselves where nobody knows what they are good for anymore. A manager who has understood this actively questions whether everything always has to be right. A pointless work instruction remains pointless, even if you garnished the mail with “…… that would be totally sweet” during forwarden.

Every organization gets the leadership it deserves

Let’s come back to the entry mentioned “Agile Micromanagement”. In many cases, managers are conditioned in this way: On the one hand, there is the expectation that managers, especially from middle management, are always meaningful. But this is where the will to change lies with top management: this trust must be lived from the highest hierarchies.


The middle management reacts with the hybrid model quasi out of self-defense: On the one hand micromanagement is expected, on the other hand one wants to be agile. Often, by the way, the same management encourages this through some kind of innovation. I would be careful to point out the senselessness as an evangelist: As a rule, you can’t change organizational structures from one day to the next.


Agile methods and NewWork require New Management: The executive as mentor and coach in mutual agreement with the employees. And the epicentre is trust, which can and must only be lived from above. And this can only be exemplified slowly by top management. Top managers have just been deprived of empathic traits and what do we do with toxic executives?

How to handle High Performer

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Intro

Last week I wrote about “Low Performer”. Again as a delimitation: Especially topics that have to do with leadership are complex and individual case studies. In my blog, I just want to aim for a discussion about the topics. I can’t offer solutions that are generally valid.


About High Performer

Even the demarcation is difficult for me. What exactly is a “high performer”? A Google search doesn’t bring any clarity. For me these are people who deliver results disproportionately to the team. But here you have to clearly define the workaholic: Anyone who constantly achieves more because he only works overtime is therefore not a “high performer”.

No worriers


A further differentiation are the consequent doubters, who are often very good in technical terms. They often think about themselves, that without them everything would go down the drain, because they also think about the last red ribbon. These people are often just good, but exhausting for the team.

High performers with social skills…


A dream is the combination of high perception, fast implementation speed and the ability to work with the team. I have such a stroke of luck: A colleague, highly intelligent, extremely fast and takes time without complaint for all colleagues to pass things on.


These are actually the dream of a team member. The only problem is often that these people tend to be “super-solvers” or independently solve other problems at the same time without having to worry about all the implications. But these are actually rather luxury problems.


…and others


Now we come to the more problematic cases: Extremely intelligent people who work fast but don’t just establish themselves in the team. Communicative skills are required here:

The team is crucial: it must be conveyed that the overall result is supported by all. One person alone cannot do everything today

You’re better, that’s all right: It’s absolutely necessary to acknowledge these people that they achieve more. These people also want to be praised.

Encourage sharing: Even if the communicative abilities are not so high, you can tap into the knowledge. Especially if you put young colleagues at their side and involve the high performers as “tutor”, useful structures can develop (However, you have to observe this closely so that the young colleagues are not demotivated).

About “Low Performer”

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intro

I wanted to deal with the topic of team performance today. If you have a team of different people, there is usually a distribution: from “geniuses” to “normal” to real brakes. You can’t escape the normal distribution here. The decisive factor, however, is the overall result, often not the result of the individual, to which everyone contributes.

Low Performer (?)

What exactly is a “low performer”? For me, these are project members who do not deliver frequently expected results. This is often coupled with recriminations and reasons for not delivering. What is important here is that I am not necessarily talking about “shortfalls” in the legal sense, but about people who disturb the team. I personally find the caste of those who refuse to accept change particularly difficult (“We have never done this before”, “Actually, we have to do it first…”).

What to do?

For me, the decisive factor is always the team, not the manager in the first place (that one, too, but that one further on): Is the team prepared to support the work of the person in question or are there already many refuseniks here? If the team stands behind the member, the manager is challenged to relieve and support the person.

If the team does not stand behind the person, which is more often the case, it becomes more difficult: At this moment the leader is also in demand. A way must be found for this person to establish himself or herself. Here it is helpful to look at the overall result, which can only be achieved if everyone is present. Here you can also make it clear that not everyone has an equal share in the result, and that this is not bad either. Team building must be driven forward significantly.

The team must be sensitized to the extent that all team members are accepted, regardless of their individual performance. Especially these low performers need a lot of support and even praise (perhaps proportionally more than they deserve).

However, there will be an end to this at some point. A central question: When is this point reached? Usually much later than most people are able to believe. Nevertheless, I don’t want to rule out the possibility that in a few individual cases the point of separation will be reached.

It`s all About agile?

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intro

The days I noticed a tweet from Christian Müller (who is on Twitter: #FF!). Discussing on Twitter is sometimes difficult, therefore my “answer” here. Trigger:


Area manager introduces “agility”: – the team leaders additionally take over the function of a product owner – dailies take place once a week – Scrum Master is scheduled with 25% time – tasks are distributed by the team leaders How would you deal with it?

Provocative – but what does it look like?


Pseudo Agile?

The experiences that Christian Müller briefly summarizes here are often repeated in reality. Particularly in large corporate structures, attempts are made to pack agility into old-fashioned release cycles. This is a contradiction in terms. Some companies also experiment with “hubs” and the like.


Agility isn’t just about establishing a table tennis table and flocking together under the cover of a “dailies”.

But how do you establish new ideas and procedures in a large corporate culture? The pragmatic approach of “somehow” then ends precisely in the regulations cited above. One is agile. Somehow.


Often these procedures are not due to the fact that the introducer was stupid or did not understand agile procedures. They are rather actions of self-defense (some exceptions may exist). The attempt to establish new ideas without damaging old structures or established mechanisms.


But why is it? Transformation can only succeed if a culture of trust is established. And that must be lived by senior management. New techniques (be it Scrum or something else) can only work if a culture of trust exists. And this cannot flourish if top management expects every department head to be able to provide information on every detail every second. It is often these expectations that have established micromanagement.


But are the pseudo Agile attempts at re-assembly really only bad? The evangelists will say: Then you can leave it alone. But I think that a cultural revolution can only succeed gradually. And that includes mistakes like misunderstood agility. But they also offer the possibility of the door opener.


So: Do it! Join in, get better!