Leadership Mistake


I recently sat in a meeting with some of my reports and another manager. One of my team members said something that according to the other manager wasn’t accurate and raised the tension in the room. The inaccurate information likely came from me, but not in exactly the way I said it. I ended up defending my own communications (potentially sliding the blame for misinterpretation to the team member) instead of taking full responsibility for the bad communication myself. After the meeting I realized I had made a mistake. I’m writing this as a reminder to myself that I should take the heat for my team in situations like these.

(Photo used under Creative Commons by Flickr user: kalexanderson)

Manage Process, Lead People

I’ve recently become a manager, which has brought with it a lot of new responsibilities and challenges. I didn’t aspire for the position and I had mixed feelings of letting go of my other responsibilities, but ultimately I welcomed the opportunity.

One thing that has helped me in my new role is the concept of managing process and leading people. Over the past year or so, Brian Corrales and I had been helping the team transition into an Agile software/project management style. We’ve been using Scrum to help us manage backlogs of stories to be completed, track our progress, stay transparent with stakeholders, and deliver early and often.

Our version of Scrum looks a bit different than in other parts of the organization, but it has come from iterative team retrospective. At the end of each sprint, we reevaluate what went well, what didn’t go well, and what we’d like to try during the next sprint to improve. A lot of the “Try” categories have evolved around the processes that we’ve put in place to implement Scrum on our team: for opening up communication, delivering more consistently, estimating better, etc.

At this point, I feel like I have an okay handle on managing process. There are still processes that I’m hoping to improve, such as the way we test and document our products, etc. but those will come gradually over time as we continue to put emphasis on those things and work them more tightly into our team culture.

I’m looking for ways to improve my leadership on the team. I feel like the team is responsive to me, my requests, and guidance, but I’m looking for ways to improve this. I’ve been trying to hold good one-on-ones with my team members, which I believe has been extremely helpful, but I’m continuing to look for more guidance/help.