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czwartek, 28 lipca 2016

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Perspective of the other side

While working with leaders I come accross the similar issue many times - they want somebody else to change their behaviour. For example:
How to deal with people that criticise my ideas?
How to force boss not to micromanage the team work?

We would like someone else to change, because we know that we are right, we have good intention and want to improve the work and the other side just disturb us. We believe that Agile/microservices/Product focus (not project)/whatever is the only idea that can help and everyone who doesn't agree is an enemy that should be ceased.
If somebody critices my ideas - must be wrong. If my boss try to micromanage he is an ignorant, because every book about management describe it as an antipattern.

But let's be honest - all ideas like:

  • (the power of) teamwork
  • limit work in progress
  • authonomy (instead of micromanagement)
  • timeboxing
  • agile/kanban/lean
  • TDD/BDD/ATDD/Spec by example
  • ( your lovely idea here...)

are just ideas. They are supported by a set of believes, but mostly subjective believes. You believe it or not, but you can't prove they are right. They are just models, theories, hypothesises, patterns, heuristics, strategies. Because they are applied in complex enviroments, there are contexts where they will be beneficial, and there are contexts where they will not, and sometimes it will be very difficult to evaluate their real value. So everytime you meet someone else who doesn't agree, be aware that s/he can be right. It is a first step neccessery to deal with the issue. It is secondary what you believe in, much more important is how you react when sb doesn’t agree or follow.

The most important obstacle to tacle the challenge is our tendency to look at the situation only from one perspective - "I" perspective. This perspective is subjective, because it is based on our current believes, expectations, state, knowledge and biasases. This is why it is so difficult to solve problems between people. If we really want to find a win-win solution, we need to try to see situation from the perspective of other side ("you" perspective).

If a person critices your idea, just try to find an answer "why"? But beware because we like to see negative intention in other people's behaviour. "He critices me because he wants to diminish me". In some rare cases it may be true but it is not the root inention. The root intention is in most cases positive, at least from the other side perspective.
S/he may criticise your idea because s/he wants ensure that the best possible solution will be applied. Or want to warn about potention problems that may arise.

In the second example, if boss want to micromanage, just ask "why is it important". He may want to ensure that work will be done correctly or will be done in standarized way. When you know the intention, it is easier to find a solution - different way how boss can ensure it not micromanaging.
If you just say "Micromanagement is evil", you will try to take something away from him what is important and give nothing instead.

So the next time when you don't like someones behaviour or attitude, try to look at the situation from its perspective asking question "why is it important for him/her? what is a positive intention" and then it will be much easier to tacle the situation. And remember most of the stuff you think is right way of doing things is just set of believes, subjective belives so don't be too much attached to it.

(Of course the subject is not specific only to technical leaders but can be attributed to whole human race.)

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