Leadership Tip #11: Substitute the Word Trust for Empower

We talk a lot about empowered or self-organizing teams in the agile community. However, I don’t see too many self-organizing or empowered teams at my clients. Not because my clients are stupid—far from it. Everyone does the best job they know how to do. However, every manager’s micromanagement pervades all levels. Instead of talking about …

Leadership Tip #10: Commit Coherent & Meaningful Work to a Team

Many managers feel the need to get more and more done. They feel pressure from customers and salespeople for more features or products. Or the managers might feel the need for more revenue. So they start many projects. When teams have too many projects, teams take longer to finish. This means all that pressure continues …

A Simple Way to Measure Work Satisfaction and See Trends

I explained in Leadership Tip #8 that measuring happiness was a lost cause because happiness is a function of more than just work. I suggested we measure satisfaction. And I didn’t tell you how. (You didn’t mind-meld with me, did you?) Here’s how I’ve measured satisfaction with several teams. I start with the 5-point scale …

Leadership Tip 8: Stop Focusing on Happiness & Measure Satisfaction Instead

Do you or your managers want people to be happy at work? That’s a laudable goal. And, in my experience, unrealistic. That’s because happiness is an outcome of a person’s current life context. Instead of happiness, let’s consider satisfaction. When we consider satisfaction, we might discover ways to create a great work environment. That satisfaction might …

Leadership Tip #7: Be Wary of Spending Time on Non-Promotable Tasks

What do you appreciate about your office culture? Maybe someone circulates get-well or congratulations cards. Someone might bring cookies to work or arrange birthday celebrations. I know of people who arrange retirement/transition lunches. All these actions are nice things. They even have a name: “niceties.” Nice people perform these services for the rest of the …

Leadership Tip #2: Do the Right Thing, Even When it Feels Uncomfortable

We all like to think we use our value-based integrity to decide and act. And I bet you’ve seen people who don’t appear to use that kind of integrity. If you talk to them, they say they intend to do the right thing. However, they don’t always act according to their intentions. Here’s an example …

Leadership Tip #1: Always Tell the Truth, Even When You’re Embarrassed

You’re a middle or senior manager in an organization trying to hold on in these crazy times. And you just discovered you’re shipping the wrong version of the product. (Or your product doesn’t work or it has some kind of horrible defect.) Your customers are angry. Your employees are running around, trying to fix the …