Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Managers out there - Be selfish - Remove obstacles.


I recently had an interesting conversation with someone about a comment made to a Team:  "I removed your obstacle".

This may seem like great news on the surface.

It appears that at this company, the manager thinks it is the team's obstacle and not their own.

The reality is that if a team has an obstacle, although it may not immediately effect the manager, it will impact them.  This may be personal or financial.

Many change artists know that by showing someone how a change can help them personally increases the likelihood of acceptance.

I would argue that if I am a manager, by removing the obstacles for the team, it is actually a form of self-help.

The big realization that you are in it "together" is a fundamental mind-shift needed for a manager to switch from "manager" to "leader".  By helping my team to succeed, I am actually acting as a responsible leader.

For some reason, this message doesn't always come through as being helpful when we share it.  Perhaps this is due to our form of communication.  We may not be talking in the recipients' head space.

Many of us talk about "serving the team", "removing obstacles for the team".

Really.. is that what the manager is doing by removing obstacles!  Could we imagine they are also doing it for themselves? 

Consider the following message:


Managers out there....

Be selfish... 

Solve your own problems... 

Do this by removing obstacles for your teams.


Just a thought.


Please note;  This communication has worked well for me to explain the importance of removal of obstacles.  It has also caused me some grief.  Work out your own way of incorporating this message if it makes sense to you.


Mike Caspar
Passionate About Agile