Today I planned to have a Unit meeting and around 5AM I woke up to write my presentation; trying to drink as little coffee as possible and still he coherent. While writing my presentation and thinking of all things I want to tackle I also stepped in an introspection mode, which took me more time than actually doing the presentation.
I thought about the past 4 months and what I managed to do and did not. It went pretty ok until I started thinking how I loved being a team leader and how much I miss it. But essentially the positions are a bit similar, so why the craving?
I thought about safety and comfort. It is easy to do a job that you are accustomed with, where you know the game, the players and the rules. When you know the basics you just learn how to do it better by each experience.
And then it hit me: how do you know what works and not? How do you learn from each experience? And my first thought was: feedback. You get constant feedback; one of the backbones of agility! Feedback from customer, from team,
even from your own actions; that you take back and work with it.
And then I realised what I miss: the feeling of a team that helps me learn by constant feedback.
Taking a step into management means taking a step into an area of potentially little feedback that comes straightforward, in time and from the directly affected people. Usually you find out you messed up when you are called for a short discussion about a possible exit.
I know it is hard to be open with your line manager, the one that holds what Sir John Whitmore calls one of the 3 keys of the traditional manager: the salary, the promotion and the ax. It is even harder when you barely know that person and it is dropped from the sky on a nice day as your manager: what is she about?; what does she want?; what does she think of me?; do I have to prove myself again?; here we go again, just another new manager…
So, in order to close the loop: the last thing that I’ve put in the Unit meeting presentation was a request for feedback, in an almost retrospective manner: anonymous, on a piece of green or yellow paper: what do I do that helps you; what I do not do and you need it. And it seemed to be working: I got almost 30 pieces of paper that are small mirrors of my activity for the past 4 months. So I felt happy, because I know what I need to do next, what I did not focus on and I should have, I have homework to do!
I hope this is just a first step from the many I want to take into making this unit MY new team.
It’s not over until the fat lady sings!