Wednesday 17 June 2009

Avoid overstretching yourself

So we've turned a corner, now new ideas are coming to the front again and we're actually implementing them. It's great to feel the pace of change. Great to see new people being given opportunities to strike out on their own, form their own roles, and improve the company. There really is very little more satisfying at work than making someone happy by giving them work they love and own. I'm actually smiling as I write this.

There is a word of caution here though. The more I've seen successful change starting, the more I've wanted to see it elsewhere. My hand is up like the excited school kid in the classroom. Me sir.. me sir! Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of people willing to hand tasks over to me to get the mtrlar treatment. I'm not saying that it's perfect, but I think that when someone stands up for something that's clearly defined and communicated, it almost comes second whether people agree it's the best idea, they're just happy that someone has a plan.

Thanks to my enthusiasm for taking on new tasks, I now have a quite considerably increased workload. In my head I thought it would be fine. On paper, the amount of work I've got is fine. The problem is that I didn't include on that paper all the unplanned issues and tasks that spring up daily. They take up lots of time and shunt other tasks to the back. Of course, I don't want my newly acquired tasks to suffer so it's my other roles that get delayed. What are they? Oh, nothing much... just pro-actively managing my teams. That's right, believe it or not, my appetite for spreading the gospel of good management has started to impact on my ability to implement good management!

Don't panic. I think I can still get it all done, I'll just need a little more sweat and some sensible delegation. There's no way I want my teams to suffer for my own hubris. Still, it's a problem I never considered. So beware, if you're successful at becoming an ambassador for change at your company, then make sure that the work required to do that doesn't stop you being the very thing you promote. Personally, I'm going to switch up a notch to catch up, and then work on delegation and training to help maintain the pace of change. My hand will still be going up... maybe only on the core issues... maybe.

Wednesday 10 June 2009

Team hug!

There is no advice here today, no words of ‘wisdom’, no links to bloggers much better qualified than me. Today is just a little story of something that happened to me this week that made me smile.

This last two weeks or so have seen big changes at our place. They may not appear big from the outside, but we’re now working together so much better that the output of improvements has rocketed. I’ve been so enthused by this that I’ve taken on quite a bit of work. It’s good. I’m not complaining. But I do have more work than previously and that has meant a little extra pressure. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about crazy pressure… just remember I do spend a lot of time having barbeques on the beach, so pressure is relative.

So, here I am getting a little pressured and then we get broken into. Luckily there was nothing major stolen and the biggest expense was replacing the office doors, but still… an unexpected issue to deal with. More pressure.

Finally, this week, I came in to find that we had left a door open to the office. I couldn’t believe that this had happened given the recent break in. Nothing bad happened, but it really set me back. Of course it was just a simple mistake, and nobody was to blame, but it really knocked me. It shouldn’t have.

That morning I felt the pressure spilling over the rims of my tolerance cup and I could feel I was projecting unhappiness and was not being a good manager. I knew I needed to fix it but I just couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t think my way out of the cul-de-sac of self pity, and it wasn’t even 9am yet.

Then, when one of my team arrived, a guy that is normally very dead pan and low key, he saw I wasn’t my usual self, and came and gave me a hug. Then another one of my team joined in and tried to cheer me up. Of course their actions helped, although there is always an awkward back slapping moment when two guys hug... but hey. More than that though, what immediately cheered me up was to realise that I have a team of people around me that care about how I feel. It isn’t just one way traffic where I’m giving to them – of course it isn’t. In fact, now I think about it, a few weeks previous to this, a member of one of my other teams said that I was always helping other people and that if they could ever help me then I should let them know. How had I missed this?

What’s the point of this post? I’m not sure really. All I can say is that something amazing exists in my teams. Something that I think I’ve been working to create all of the time without really knowing it. It’s the reward that I’ve secretly been working to create but have never acknowledged; a team that cares about their manager. Now there’s a thing of beauty.

Have a lovely day.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Management philosophy carnival (June '09 edition)

Hello all, and welcome to a sunny June edition of the ManageASmile blog carnival. I hope you find these articles as interesting as I did.

As a slight change to the carnival, I have added a word count to help you choose based on how much time you have, and I've also added an article that I read and made me smile. I'll try to find at least one article like this for future carnivals. If you're feeling low, then skip to the end and get your smile count up.

Consider how you communicate to get the maxmum results and improve your leadership (612 words):

I tweeted this it was so good, but hold on to your hats as Penelope Trunk doesn't pull her punches. This article is about how we pick people we work with (691 words):

There are many factors that make a great work place. This article describes some of the key factors to consider (391 words):

Ok, let's not get defensive, but here is some tips on avoiding work place sabotage... we've all had it (971 words):

....and finally, here is a little news article that made the hair on my neck stand up and kept me smiling all day (289 words):