When to Be a Dictator When You Have an Agile Mindset
How to implement and maintain an Agile mindset in a group of non-collaborative co-workers.
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I don't know if this happens to you, but I regularly receive criticism of my management style and approach with my colleagues. Lack of conviction, not stern enough, and not decisive are just a few of the things I've been accused of throughout my career. I feel as though I have plenty of conviction, but then why am I being criticized?
The Democratic Management Style
I practice what I call a Democratic Management Style. This is something very compatible with the Agile manifesto, which promotes interaction and collaboration. For me, it is necessary to hear everyone's thoughts, to exchange opinions, and to debate each side of the decision before I can obtain an informed and successful reflection. Everyone has their own experiences, their sensitivities, their own biases, and their history; therefore, it is impossible to ensure that everyone can agree on what the "right decision" is. It requires listening, asking, and being heard. So yes, if you are a fan of authoritarian regimes, you will hate this style of management and will consider people like me as weak and unconvinced. Is this not the reflection that dictators make towards the presidents of the so-called democratic countries? You understand my aversion to such remarks.
This management style is not only about good decision-making techniques, but it also generates commitment among your colleagues. Not only will there be no resentment or harm, but above all, you put your colleagues in a situation where they will be not only going through the motions but invested and interested in the work they do. This means they will be less likely to leave the company. That's one hell of a life insurance policy!
What if a Team Member Is Not A Fan of This Style?
How do you behave when you are dealing with someone who is not a democrat in his approach? The reflex of the Democrat would be to behave as usual. I listen to everyone, I let the exchange take place, etc.... In short, yes, you will be lax. Your little authoritarian will not understand, because you do not speak the same language as him. No, forget it! I've been trying for years, he won't understand. So talk to him as he talks to you! He's always saying your idea isn't a good one? Tell him firmly that it is like that and no other way. Does he criticize everything you do? Tell him that you're doing, instead of criticizing. In short, don't let yourself get carried away. You have to speak his language so that he understands you. All the while remaining constructive. The question may arise as to when you should put your foot down. This is where you have to ask yourself what kind of frame you want. What are your limits? What is unacceptable?
Is it the way people are talking to you? Is it when they are contradicting you to their teammates? It is up to you to set your frame, but yes clearly do not let yourself be carried away.
How do you run your office? Are you more of a democratic leader, or an authoritarian one? Comment your successes and challenges with your leadership style!
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