Rethinking Manager’s Relationship with Agile Teams

This article originally appeared on gantthead.com  In the early days of agile, some pundits (and developers) cried, “We don’t need no stinking managers.” By now, most people realize that organizations still need management (and people in management...

Bridging Structural Conflict: the Same and Different Exercise

No two people or groups are the same, but their differences don’t have to force them apart. Conflict resolution in the workplace starts with redefining these differences. Let’s begin our exploration of how groups can bridge structural conflict with a story. I...

Peer-to-Peer Feedback

One of the traps people fall into on teams is withholding information that’s critical for the team to function. Sometimes the information is about friction between team members. When team members don’t have a way to talk about small frictions, they turn in...

Real leaders make space for others to shine

I’ve seen a renewed cry for leaders in organizations lately. Too often in these discussions, the attempt to define the characteristics of a leader boils down to a role in which one individual creates a vision for others to follow. That’s not enough. We need more...

Are you part of the team if you are on the team part-time?

“Part-timers just don’t seem to fit in with the team,” a manager complained recently. “I do everything I can to impress on them the importance of teamwork and team spirit, but they just don’t gel with the team. What can I do to motivate...

Dealing with “Difficult” Co-workers

We all have coworkers who rub us the wrong way, get on our nerves, and generally drive us crazy. Let’s consider these examples of three people who have difficult coworkers: 1. Ted finished working on a difficult bit of code and headed for the team meeting. When...

A Tale of a Too-Hands-Off Manager

I recently worked with a team that was struggling. One of the team members, Tad, wasn’t playing by the rules the team had established. When the team formed, members agreed that each day they’d have a fifteen-minute stand-up meeting to report on progress. The team...

Tale of a Yo-Yo Manager

There is much more to empowering a team than simply stating “You’re empowered.” Consider the three Ws of empowerment: “what,” “when,” and “why” when creating boundaries that define which decisions are the team’s...

Is Collaboration the Right Way to Work? It Depends.

As a manager, your job is to organize people and work for success. That includes work design–figuring out whether you have a group or a team and creating an environment where people can do their best work. I don’t know about you, but work design...

Six Ways to Better Team Communication

Getting team communication to work may seem mysterious—something that just happens or grows through some unknowable process. The good news is there are concrete actions that tend to build strong team communication (and concrete actions that are almost guaranteed to...

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