To document… Part 2 (Post 18)

We had our second session on documentation today. As I was not having a good day (brain addled by vertigo from moment of waking), I needed to rethink how the session would run – to remove the work from me, and ensure the group stepped up.

So with a bit of prep time, the group was presented with two lots of butchers paper on 2 walls, with 2 lots of post-it’s. One post-it to one piece of documentation.

The group was split into 2 – my selection to mix the skill sets and agendas – and they were asked to put the documentation into sequence, including where possible grouping of like documents, and dependencies.

It was interesting to see how things panned out. Both groups’ sheets look different – but there really wasn’t great variance between the two. Having said that, I’ll be typing this up tomorrow so I’ll get to test that statement.

I didn’t ask for overlaps in content, but it was obvious from the conversations they were drawing some conclusions by themselves. I will draw this out on Friday.

What was interesting was the pieces of work they thought were missing. There was content or ‘decisions’ they felt wasn’t clarified. In asking about this, the interesting part is MOST of what they wanted they have – just not in a format they are used to. Talking afterwards with a colleague of mine, who is a manager within this environment and is a participant of the sessions, he agreed – they have an inability to recognise information spread in format. The information has to appear the way they expect it, or they don’t digest it. (Secondly, it is very nice to be validated!!! I respect this colleague immensely so I was very glad he thought I was totally on track.)

We both agreed it would be valuable to pull these clarifications out to a template they recognise, followed by a bit of explanation of where the clarification came from. For me, this is a huge learning. To me the decisions were there – I was having difficulty understand what they were missing. Now I know. Pulling it together will be next week’s task.

The third session is on Friday, and we will focus on overlaps, redundancies and concurrent authorship. It should be a doozie!!!!

So far, so good. I just hope my brain is not so addled on Friday 🙂

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Mindful

I attended a professional development session on mindful leadership this week. Having not really been across this before, I did find it covered some ideas that were not new, just labelled anew, and other ideas quite fresh. Adaptive leadership vs conventional leadership was really the initial focus of the seminar, and I found that I probably use a mix of both.

It started a myriad of thoughts, but instead of listing these I will focus on one activity we did. The activity involved two people, with one talking and the other listening. But the ‘listener’ was tasked with limiting reaction – no nods, no affirmations, no response. This was to give the speaker the ability to say what they needed to say, without interruption, for five minutes. Five minutes is actually a very long time to talk. It is an even longer time to listen without reaction.

My take, which was echoed by some others, was that it is very hard to talk to someone who is not responding. I actually want some sort of response that the person is engaged – not that they necessarily agree, just that they understand what I am saying. I also think this is not something to try with your staff unless you warn them first. If I tried this, even at home, without providing a heads up, I think the speaker would be thrown by the absence of my affirmations of understanding.

Overall I could see the worth, but found the connections ( made by the presenter) to yoga and Buddhism off putting. It made it sound, to me, very ‘warm and fuzzy’, which is not what I’m looking for when I think of leadership. But that was probably the presenter.

We did also ‘meditate’ briefly. The presenter lead that beautifully. So effective was her calming voice, I would like a copy to listen to before I go to sleep, to switch my brain off. I did try it myself last night – ‘focus on your big toe….’

A classic Attila the Hun

Tried another personality & employment test. This one was from CareerFitter, and this is what it had to say:

You have a natural ability for organizing and mobilizing people toward achievement of a clear goal.
Your objectivity allows you to develop procedures or regulations that takes care of present and future situations. You are someone that promotes and defines a strong work ethic, and is practical and results-oriented. Your desire for structure, schedule, and order make you the classic administrator. You believe
in standard operating procedures, and have little use for speculation, experimentation, or fantasy. Consequently, these abilities can make you very desirable in positions of leadership.”

Again, nothing really new in this…

However, I do like reading between the lines 🙂

Says “natural ability for organizing and mobilizing people” – read “bossy boots”.

Says “You are someone that promotes and defines a strong work ethic” – read “expects others to work as hard as me, and by the same rules”.

Says “Your desire for structure, schedule, and order make you the classic administrator” – read “… or a classic Attila the Hun”.

Says “have little use for speculation, experimentation, or fantasy” – read “does not believe in fairies, gnomes nor leprechauns”.

I think my fantasy is that I am not as boring as all that.  In the immortal words of Darryl Kerrigan: “Tell him he’s dreaming”.

 

Yet another personality test

As a follow on from yesterday’s post (Work footprints), I am still playing with personality tests. While I fully understand these tests are very generic, and are responses to your own subjective understanding of semantics, I do find them interesting.

Most of all I am looking for tests that move away from the standard Myer-Briggs spit-out, or variations thereof. I want to see if there are different elements that may raise to the surface, that may spark my interest, inspire thought.

The latest one I have played with is through careerone.com.au, which refers to the Humm-Wadsworth Temperament Scale. I just like the name!

It describes my style as:

“… The first set of drives underpinning this style include the motivation to be project minded, detail conscious, structured in their thinking, organised and procedural in the way they attack their duties and they will be serious and determined rather than open and enthusiastic. The second set of underlying drives, on the contrary, provide motivation for an individual to display a great deal of energy and effervescence, delight in variety and place a need for successful social interaction above concentrating on the job on hand. Therefore, it is a relatively tough task for full self-management to be imposed. Inevitably, some variations in behaviour are going to occur…”

Interesting. Add this :”Part of the person’s make up is to want to interact successfully with others, to socialise, to talk freely, to have fun and even to skylark a little.” This is sounding like me, more so I think than the righteous prig previously described.

This element probably explains me chasing my tail: “However, when tiredness sets in, or where there is influence through illness or other debilitating means, there is less possibility of effective self-management and the conflicting behaviours make it difficult for people to work with them because they see them as unpredictable.”

In the sphere of careers, my ‘style’ apparently “seek project management opportunities within a people-oriented environment, where they can analyse situations (or people) and assist in the achievement of mutually agreed goals and objectives.”

Doh.

No insight. This is already what I do. But it at least sounds like fun.

Work footprints

As mentioned in a previous post, my life has been chaos – most recently due to illness.  It has been chaos in my worklife for some time now, as the role I have been in for almost three years has met its expiry date.

The short story is that the role I am currently in is and always has been a temporary position, with a fixed term contract that has been renewed annually for the last two years. At this point in time, the responsibilities that I cover are to be rolled into a more permanent office.

This means change for me. I never wanted the position I have as a permanent lodging, preferring to meet new challenges rather than settled down. The role was a secondment from my original POW, but the issue now is defining what I do next, as this secondment came from another secondment and previous to that I was acting higher duties.

So what comes next? I am currently negotiating at MPOW where I fit in, but personally it has made me question my career path. I suppose this is my time for a middle-life crisis, to question what is important and what is it that I am getting out of my work. As a starting point, I thought I would invest some time re-establishing my acquaintance with myself, to re-assess what turns me on and what turns me off. A few colleagues bumped me online personal assessment tools, of which I have played with a few, while others have recommended books.

One book I’ve been flicking through is ‘What color is your parachute‘ by Dick Bolles, which introduced the question – what will your work footprint be? That is, what do you want left behind when your journey ends? The book outlines 9 outcomes, most of which I immediately discarded.  Surprisingly after some thought, I identified mostly with ‘the will or conscience’: I want there to be more morality, more justice, more righteousness and more honesty. A big part of what drives me is doing things the ‘right’ way, the ‘fair’ way. I am very offended when someone questions my process as I always work hard towards ensuring there has been a transparent process, and therefore the means to the end result is spotlessly unsoiled.

Which in turn probably makes be boring as hell, anal, judgmental and generally unlikeable. I think it’s time to stop looking inwards. I’m not too sure I like what I see 🙂

 

 

How do you say thank you?

Today on Twitter I posted the question: Thinking about staff recognition – what makes you feel that your work is acknowledged & appreciated?

I received a number of responses (thank you):

@nomesd presents. Chocolate. Gold stars. Big fat cheques.

@restructuregirl Praise for projects I think are valuable. Not just those others wanted me to do. So praise for initiative I guess.

@haikugirlOz public acknowledgement of a job well done is nice | morning/afternoon teas | we have performance based bonuses here

@Suelibrarian specific verbal acknowledgment is good. Ie rather than general “you did good”- specific contribution recogn in front of peers

@stephmcg mention in a newsletter, gift voucher, and lindt chocolate 🙂

@rockchicklib a raise? 🙂 Serious – RDO after project, get to go to confs & things, a lunch. Yes public praise, but some not fond of that!

Private response: simple thank you for work well done

@nomesd bonuses awesome. Recognition good. Prof devt recognition? Non-money bonuses?

Private response: a one-on-one ‘thanks, you did good’ does it for me. doesn’t need to be public, just occasional indication that i’m doin ok

I also posted the question on Yammer – and the only response I got was: All for it. I’ve got plenty of ideas (paid holidays, an internal honours system), but I take it you only want sensible ones?

The origin of the question was work. I’ve been asked to consider how people should be recognised and acknowledged for the work they have done – often on top of existing workloads. However in thinking about this, I find it poses more questions. Who should offer the recognition? The organisation or the individual manager? Should all staff involved get the same praise/recognition – when workloads and contributions have not been even?

On a personal level, I have difficulties with receiving praise. I often find it contrived and run-of-the-mill. I get more satisfaction from a personal comment or note/card expressing thanks than a public  statement. Yet at the same time I do want credit given when it is due. I do not like the standard gift to all staff – as to me it ignores those who have really tried while patting others on the back who barely turn up.

What do others think?

And before I finish, I wish to recognise the efforts of those mentioned above for their very valuable  contributions: here’s an elephant stamp for great effort!


Personality profiling

I’ve just been catching up with the blog reading form #blogeverydayofjune, where I was reminded we are now half way through – or will be once the day is over.  The post that has sparked this writing effort lead of course to another post (as they all do – it can at times be difficult to remember where you started) – and the post touched on leadership styles, mentioning two Team Management profiles: the Creator-Innovator and the Explorer-Promoter.

Across my years in libraries, I have participated (willingly or otherwise) in a number of leadership management/team-building courses, which all seem to involve some form of profiling: MBTI, DISC, Belbin.

The most recent one (held 2008) was with the organisation I am currently working for, and it used the same methodology as mentioned in Mal’s post – Team Management Profile. According to all these profiles, my preferences are:

  • ESTJ: According the Myers-Briggs site: Practical, realistic, matter-of-fact. Decisive, quickly move to implement decisions. Organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible. Take care of routine details. Have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also. Forceful in implementing their plans.
  • Influencer: According to Wikipedia: People with high “I” scores influence others through talking and activity and tend to be emotional. They are described as convincing, magnetic, political, enthusiastic, persuasive, warm, demonstrative, trusting, and optimistic. Those with low “I” scores influence more by data and facts, and not with feelings. They are described as reflective, factual, calculating, skeptical, logical, suspicious, matter of fact, pessimistic, and critical.
  • Belbin – well to be honest, I can’t really remember though I know I did this one within the last 7 years. I think it may have been Implementer, which would fit with the others: needed to plan a practical, workable strategy and carry it out as efficiently as possible
  • Thruster-Organiser make things happen; produce action out of ideas, discussion and experiments; enjoy organisation, outputs and decisions – to get ideas into practice; sometimes prone to impatiencemay rush into uninformed action; to get something to happen find an Thruster-Organiser; sometimes ‘feathers may be ruffled’ – that is others’ feathers, not their own.

Well there’s obvious a bit of a trend here, and I will say that I have been likened to a blue heeler in the way that I herd people int he right direction. However (and this is a BIG however) I have to question how we get the results. In most cases, these profiles are the result of answering multi-choice questions… do you prefer this word to that word, etc. So how much does the individual’s semantics play a part in this. Further – it is all based on self-perception. Surely all of us have some level of self-delusion. And we may be deluded as to how deluded we are! I know a few people that really have no understanding of how they are perceived or of the impact they have on other people. I wonder how much I fit into this category. I have even asked others (those I trust to be honest but not soul-crushing) who advise that I am generally very self-aware.

Anyway, from these wonderful insights into my being I thoght I’d have some fun. I’ve highlighted in ORANGE (my favourite colour) the terms I would (& have) used in my CV, and in GREEN (for no particular reason except it stands out) terms I would not assign to myself willingly. While I have not found that profiling has in recent times added any additional understanding to how I work (I know how I work), I have found it has uses in working with and understanding others. Perhaps more on that in another blog.