Still Alive…

Yes, I am still alive.

Yes, I will be posting here again.

Why have I been so quiet? One very simple answer…

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Farewell

or how you feel when people resign

Goodbye

I hate it when people leave. Even if it’s someone that isn’t critical to a team or that won’t be missed. It’s even worse if it’s someone I manage. The number one reason for someone leaving their job is their manager and I can’t help but take it a little bit personally when an engineer I manage leaves. I always wonder if there’s something different I could have done. Could I have made their job more interesting/challenging/exciting? Could I have made it easier? Was it something I said or did? Even if the answer’s no, it’s still disappointing to lose someone from a team.

Usually.

There are actually four types of reaction to someone resigning.

Reaction 1 - “Good.”
Hopefully this happens rarely. If the employee was so bad that you’re glad they’re leaving, why didn’t you do something about it? Either solve the problem or fire them if you have to. That may be difficult but by avoiding the problem you risk having other, more valuable, employees leave out of frustration.

Reaction 2 - “Ah well, never mind”
Indifference is a close neighbour to a type 1 reaction. If they weren’t particularly effective why didn’t you do something about it?

Reaction 3 - “That sucks. What about the project?”
This is the reaction you get when a merely good employee resigns. Sure, you’re sad to see them go but your first thought is what will happen on the project – how will you replace them? That’s not to say the fact that they’ve left will cause a problem but your first concern is to make sure that it doesn’t.

Reaction 4 – “That sucks. Damn, that sucks.”
My heart sinks when a great employee leaves. It doesn’t matter how much of an impact it’s going to have on the project, it’s that they’re leaving that’s important. These are the people that do their own job well but also bring positive energy to the team and make everyone around them better. These are the people that make teams great.

If you’re a manager, think about the people on your team. If they were to resign, what would your reaction be? Reaction 1? 3? 4? A great team is filled with type 4s, and it certainly doesn’t have any 1s. If your team has 1s or even 2s, it’s time for you to do something about it. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and fire them, although at some point you may have to. Try talking to them first, see if you can find out why they’re under performing. There may be a way for you to help them become a type 4.

If you’re an employee, are you a type 4? First and foremost do you do a good job? Are you professional? Are you committed to quality, even when no one is looking? Assuming the answer is yes, do you make the whole team better? Do you help the new guys or do you avoid them because they’ll only slow you down? Do you make your manager’s life easier or do you bitch and moan behind their back? Not everyone can be a type 4, but everyone can try.

[Philip Harris]

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Time for a link - Doctor Who and the Unsatisfactory Five Hole Tape Punch - a great article on the “world-dominating computers” from the early days of the Doctor Who TV show.

It’s also an article from Verity Stob, a name I’ve appeared alongside in my days as a freelance journalist.

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