Leadership Link Round-Up

Photo by Comrade Foot

Photo by Comrade Foot

An old coworker of mine once told me that I am good at taking criticism.  I was shocked because taking criticism from others never feels easy, but I have found that receiving feedback is not something to avoid or fear.  In fact, learning to be comfortable with discomfort helps us to change and improve.  Below are some links related to criticism:

The Art of Taking Criticism Effectively - This post offers tips on how to listen to criticism without becoming defensive, argumentative,  or angry.  Depending on the situation, you might not always be able to arrive prepared since criticism can come at any time from anyone, but the rest of the tips still apply.

How to Take the High Road - Making excuses or criticizing someone back is not classy or productive in the long run.  Another good post on how to take criticism well.

The Art of Giving Effective Feedback - Sometimes you're on the other side and giving the criticism, so here are some pointers on how to be heard while being kind.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Leadership Link Round-Up

Photo by Angela Cirrone

Photo by Angela Cirrone

I am having difficulty falling asleep tonight--I blame it on the holiday weekend that affected my normal sleep schedule--and it's technically Monday morning.  So what better time than now to focus on Negativity.

The "negativity bias," or bad feelings are stronger than good - An older post by Gretchen Rubin, whose book Happier at Home I just finished reading.  It's important to recognize that we are all subject to the negativity bias and may need an "area of refuge" to lighten our mood.

How Much is Negativity Costing You and Your Company? - Jon Gordon points out the importance of creating a positive environment rather than focusing alone on removing negativity.  And "when there is a void or gap in communication, negative energy will always fill it."

How to Deal with an Energy Vampire - More from Jon Gordon.  He's such a positive influence--his first tip is to love the Energy Vampire.  He makes it sound easy, which I appreciate since we're talking about people.

Latest Tips for Surviving Workplace Assholes - For those extreme cases that are beyond the "Energy Vampire" types, Bob Sutton shares his tricks.  His "biggest and best lesson" is to "escape if you possibly can."  Wise words.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Leadership Link Round-Up

Photo by steve_lynx

Photo by steve_lynx

Today's theme is: Praise, Rewards, and Motivating Others.

Linking Agile to HR Theory - A look at the Agile Manifesto and various theories about people and teams.  By reviewing the people side of projects promoted by Agile, the embodiment of many established good principles are evident. Projects rarely fail because the technology does not work; projects usually fail because of people issues. Finding ways to improve the people side of projects, even if they appear counterintuitive, pays huge dividends.

For Best Results, Forget the Bonus - Alfie Kohn sums up the motto of the American workplace as, "Do this, and you'll get that."  She goes on to explain the problems with rewards.

The 6 Rules for Rewards - Jurgen Appelo gives us rules for rewards that help avoid the problems with cheating and gaming rules that Kohn pointed out above.

10 Questions and Answers for Managers about Praise -  What is praise, why is it important, and a few simple rules on how to give praise effectively.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Leadership Link Round-Up

Photo by Scott Ableman

Photo by Scott Ableman

Right now I'm coaching five Agile teams, and as each of them are working towards their goals and preparing for their production releases, it's been interesting to observe the different ways the teams are motivated (and sadly, demotivated).  So the topic for today is Motivation.

Motivation 101 - Author Jon Gordon stresses that the ability to motivate a team is the most important skill in today's businesses and shares five strategies to get the results you want.

Why Burnout Should Alarm Executive Leaders - On the other side of the motivation, burnout isn't just something middle managers should worry about.  Executives need to pay attention to the money they're potentially losing from it.  Thankfully the article also includes ideas on how to reignite your teams from burnout.

When Achievement No Longer Motivates You - Cheri Baker shares what it feels like to realize achieve no longer drives you and the questions to ask yourself to help you identify your purpose.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Leadership Link Round-Up

Photo by B Furnari

Photo by B Furnari

This time the posts revolve around goals, accountability, and feedback.  I hope they resonate with you as much as they did with me.

Do you have grown up goals and toddler leadership? - Pamela Slim recognizes that unfamiliar feeling that comes with achieving a large goal--the feeling that a leader has emerged.  She goes on to explore leadership and the recipe needed to be successful in reaching those big dream goals.

Why Accountability is Essential - This comes from a blog related to nonprofit fundraising and major gifts, but I think the message is appropriate for all leaders.  Accountability can feel scary, but it is needed to move forward.  Read the post for the 5 reasons why accountability is essential.

You Won't Benefit from Anonymous Criticism - A short but poignant blog post from Seth Godin.  Feedback is a great thing, but not all feedback is the same.  How important is it to know who is criticizing you?

5 Proven Tips to Get Honest Feedback From Your Employees - It's hard enough to be willing to hear feedback, but how do you encourage people to tell you how you're doing when they're not offering it freely?  It's easy to assume that "no news is good news," but in my experience, that can be a dangerous assumption.  This post does an excellent job of recognizing that feedback is a matter of trust.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Leadership Link Round-Up

Photo by Will Lion

Photo by Will Lion

I've been keeping some blog posts marked as unread in my Google Reader, waiting for the moment to post them here.  The time is now.

5 Essential Skills for Contemporary Leaders by Nan S. Russell.  I was sold at #1, operating with trust.  'Nuff said.

Managers Should Not Be Coaching Developers by Jurgen Appelo.  I've been interested in the role of management in agile adoptions recently, and Jurgen seems to be providing the answers I've been looking for; I have his book, Management 3.0: Leading Agile Developers, Developing Agile Leaders, on my shelf waiting to be read.  I believe teams often need coaches, but I respect that he says managers need to manage the system.  It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it.

Influence and Authority: Using Your Personal Power to Get Things Done by Johanna Rothman.  Johanna posted a slide deck from a recent presentation, and it touches on the challenges of verbal persuasion.  I love her slide on "When do people change their behavior" because I think we often assume that we've made the case for change when we're only halfway there.

How Self-Compassion Makes You a Better Leader by Henna Inam.  I'm guilty of being quite critical of myself, so I needed this reminder to not be so hard on myself so I can learn from my mistakes and be happier.  According to the test, I am moderately self-compassionate, so I have room for improvement.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Leadership Link Round-Up

Photo by Matti Mattila

Photo by Matti Mattila

A couple of blog posts caught my eye recently that I wanted to share related to leadership--how to become a leader, what to do, and what not to do.

Learn leadership by choosing to lead by T.J. Sullivan, co-founder of CAMPUSSPEAK.  T.J. is an amazing speaker, and his work inspires students to be better leaders every day.  I particularly love his advice to "Keep trying, keep failing, and keep learning"--a very agile sentiment.

Egocentric Leadership by Jurgen Appelo, agile author, speaker, and trainer.  While I do enjoying reading business/management books, I'll admit that they often suffer from what Jurgen calls Management 2.0.  Drucker's words about "knowledge workers" is a nice touch here.

Avoiding the Mistakes All Leaders Make by David Grossman, a guest post on Dan McCarthy's blog.  Hint: the mistakes are related to your organization's strategic plan.

How Telling Your Story Can Make You a Better Leader by Henna Inam.  Unlike my last post, this is related to the stories you tell about yourself to lead with authority. 

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.