Mastering New Leadership Styles

“The best leaders master multiple leadership styles”, blithely comments some post on leadership. OK, including one written by me. But how? Many leaders are overly reliant on a style and this can hold them back. Generally leadership styles are a function of emotional intelligence, and working on emotional intelligence, such as working on becoming more […]

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How to build—and manage—a self-improving team

My latest in Quartz… A lot of things in management become clearer when you realize it’s much easier to measure a team’s progress than its state. A team produces 30 units of “x” in a week. Is this good? Well, we could start by asking what the value of each unit is, or by looking […]

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Why a good boss likes it when people complain

My latest in Quartz… I know some managers say “don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions,” but personally I don’t subscribe to it. I love when people complain to me. Of course, complaining is a national past time for the British, and we don’t just limit ourselves to complaining about the weather, or the poor […]

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As a leader, your job should change every six months even if you stay put

My latest in Quartz… Leadership roles evolve, especially through periods of transition. As a leader, I have found my own role changing as challenges on the team change—around every four months I realize everything is fundamentally different, and the way I need to spend my time changes, too. Recently the number of my direct reports more […]

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Answer these 10 questions to understand if you’re a good manager

My latest in Quartz… Something I struggled with as a new manager was finding a sense of accomplishment, and as I’ve moved on to manage managers, I’ve seen this become a challenge for them, too. It’s hard to find the right success metrics upon which to judge our work because our output is to make […]

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The first two questions to ask when your team is struggling

My second article in Quartz… I’ve never stepped into a leadership role without it quickly becoming clear why a new leader was needed. I think it’s normal for companies to hire new leaders when there are problems that need to be addressed. So I suspect that as the congratulations die down, it’s also normal to […]

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Understanding how process impacts outcome can help avoid useless meetings

My first article in Quartz! Earlier this year, when I was learning how to facilitate a specific type of workshop, a colleague revealed the secret to making it great: understanding the outcome and keeping it in mind throughout the entire process. If the team isn’t focused on the outcome, than they’re just performing a process. […]

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On Boiling Frogs and Drowning Rats

Today's management lesson: "You have to boil people like frogs, not drown them like rats" — @catehstn — Beau (@beaulebens) June 25, 2018 Beau recently tweeted an observation I made to him, which people reacted to… Something to do with “plague animals” all “ending up dead”. And well… maybe it isn’t my best management metaphor. […]

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Towards Productive Technical Discussions

Note: I wrote this post for an internal team blog, but thought it was worth sharing more widely. Part of getting to good code reviews is some up front discussion about trade-offs and implications for bigger architectural changes. I think of code review as when “my” code becomes “our” code – for architecture, those conversations […]

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Creating Success, Together

This is the final part of a 6-part series of blog posts based on a talk I prepared called Successfully Derailed Product. It’s about the ways in which we define and talk about “success” influence what – and how – we build. See part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5. We want to […]

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