Constant Improvement – Encourage Others

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See that guy with the ball? He’s that really smart guy at work. You know, the one who knows exactly what needs to be done, but for some reason can’t get the idea across to his manager. Each time he presents it he’s like the above guy… crashing heads with others and getting plowed into the mud. Not very encouraging.

His “manager”, the big with the “is he really trying this again” look on his face on the right, looks like he just wants the whole situation to go away.

And this smart guy doesn’t even exist as far as the big “boss” on the right is concerned. He’s busy with other things…

While the smart guy gets slammed to the ground… again.

A Better Way

So should he just give up? Of course not. He’s just going about it the wrong way.

First off, I am no expert in the area of people. Honestly, most

In a post called “What Counts for a DBA: Empathy“,  Louis Davidson says that one of the big chasms dividing the tech from the manager is how they see the situation.

A manager is graded on the product, how well it sells, the time and money it took to make, how it looks, and other “superficial” things. Well, superficial to the tech. The programmer/admin/techy will define the project (not product) on how well he/she did on it. Is it as fast and rock solid as they want? Does the code flow smoothly? Is there anyway it could

You can see the problem. One is focused on the outside and one is focused on the inside. The only way they are going to really see eye to eye is if one of them can see the world from the other’s perception.

Encouraging Others

And before you say “oh, another article about how I’ve got to be nice to the manager”… that’s not where this is headed. The point of seeing things from their angle is not to suddenly see that they were right, but to see where they are at so you can talk with them, and make changes on their side (or yours) to get the job done.

Then instead of bumping heads, you might actually get the manager on your side.

Because if you can convince them that you know what you’re doing, while at the same time making it possible for them to still look good, then you both get what you want.

I once hear of a story of a manager who was over a project and some programmers. He was sort of a push over. He would settle with the higher management for budget cuts on his project, and his programmers hated how he would get on them about things while getting pushed around by the higher management. But no one talked to him.

Until one day one of the programmers decided to encourage him by telling him about a friend of his who was having a similar issue. But the other manager having served in the army, didn’t stand for being pushed around. He told the higher management the hard facts, and did not give into budget cuts without asking for more time. He was reasonable, but would not allow his team to have to build good programs without the proper means.

“If you want more features, or want it faster, give us more money. Otherwise allow for longer times and less features.” He stuck to it, and the project was a success.

The weak manager took this to heart, and started negotiation with the higher management on more realistic terms. He was still reasonable (more so, since he wasn’t cutting his team short), and the upper management saw he was trying to actually make the project work.

And work it did.

People have enough people/things/terrors breathing down their necks. What they may just need is someone to give them an idea that will point them in the direction they needed and wanted to go.

Who knows. You might just get the manager to kick over the nonsense that’s in the way. It could happen.