David Pratten is passionate about leading IT-related change projects for social good.
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Blog Post: The Mehrabian Myth - another persistent myth

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By David Gurteen

Recently, I pointed out that although the Hawthorne Effect was real - the research that it was based on was flawed - yet we still call it the Hawthorne Effect. So in some ways it is a bit of a myth.

Here is another persistent myth - the Mehrabian Myth.

I would be surprised if you have not heard the statement, often in a training course or at a conference that when we communicate:
  • 55% of the message is conveyed by our body language
  • 38% is conveyed by the tone of our voice
  • and only 7% is conveyed by our actual words
Well, it's just NOT true. It is a misinterpretation of some research conducted by Albert Mehrabian in 1967.

The research is discussed at length here but this little video from Creativity Works explains it concisely

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drpratten
2 days ago
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Bad Management Behaviours

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 I belong to an invitation blog for military people. In a recent post, they had a post from the York Region District School Board D'Youville College, Aleksandr Noudelman about leadership.

This post resonanted with me when I hear about simple and simple minded soultions to symptoms that involve bad management. Of course these solutions don't address the Root Cause, so they never get fixed 

Here are seven key behaviors that can be found a weak leader:

  1. Their team routinely suffers from burnout – Being driven and ambitious are important traits for successful leaders. However, if you are excessively working your people or churning through staff then you aren’t effectively using your resources. You may take pride in your productivity, in doing more with less. However, today’s success may undermine long-term health. Crisis management can become a way of life that reduces morale and drives away or diminishes the effectiveness of dedicated people. With any business, there are times when you have to burn the midnight oil but it should be accompanied with time for your team to recharge and refuel.
  2. They lack emotional intelligence – Leaders who are weak are always envious of other peoples' successes and are happy when other people fail. They see themselves in fundamental competition with other executives and even with their subordinates. Such envy is a root cause of the turf wars, backbiting, and dirty politics that can make any workplace an unhealthy one.
  3. They don’t provide adequate direction – Failing to provide adequate direction can frustrate employees and will hinder their chances at completing tasks correctly and success. Poor leaders might not tell employees when a project is due or might suddenly move the deadline up without regards for the employee who's doing it. Project details can also be vague, making it difficult for staff to guess what factors the leader considers important. If a project involves participation from more than one employee, a poor leader may choose not explain who is responsible for what part. Good leaders provide adequate direction and are always there to provide descriptive feedback when it is needed.
  4. They find blame in everyone but themselves – Weak leaders blame everyone else for their mistakes and for any mishaps that happen to them and their division/company. Every time they suffer a defeat or a setback, a subordinate is given the talk down, or worse, an ax. Great leaders don't do this and they always stay positive no matter what the circumstances are. They are accountable for the results and accept full responsibility for the outcomes.
  5. They don’t provide honest feedback – It is very difficult for weak leaders to give the honest messages or constructive feedback to their subordinates. When they have to say something negative to someone, it's always someone else, usually a superior, who has told them to do. By that time it is too late and the leader hasn't really identified the problem before it reached the climax. They also make it a point to let the individual know that it's not their idea. Good leaders speak from the heart and provide honest feedback that is backed up by facts. They never wait for superiors to identify problems for them.
  6. They're Blind To Current Situation – Because weak leaders are egocentric and believe that their way is the only way, their followers are afraid to suggest anything new. Those who follow such leaders only give them praise or the good news. Such appreciation only gives a boost to their status and ego and the leader is left clueless as to what the current situation is as well as the changing trends in the marketplace.
  7. They're Self-Serving – If a leader doesn't understand the concept of “service above self” they will not retain the trust, confidence, and loyalty of their subordinates. Any leader is only as good as their team’s hope to be led by them. Too much ego, pride, and arrogance are not signs of good leadership. Long story short; if a leader receives a vote of non-confidence from their subordinates…the leader is a weak one.

The leaders mentioned in the orginal post are military leaders. But the same behaviours can be found in our commercial leaders. 

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drpratten
4 days ago
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New PM Articles for the Week of April 17 – 23

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New project management articles published on the web during the week of April 17 – 23. And this week’s video: Carl T. Bergstrom and Jevin West introduce their new 1 credit hour course at the University of Washington on Calling Bullshit. Eight minutes, and I could say it was safe for work, but I’d be full of shit.

Must read!

  • Joseph Kelly makes the case that the role of the Entrepreneur is to create new Truths. And along the way, some of these Truths may not be absolute. It’s about creation, not morality. Read this with an open mind and be prepared to come back to it later.
  • Will Knight points out a problem with Deep Learning artificial intelligence applications: since they learned by observing human behavior, we can’t explain how they make decisions.
  • Michael O’Brochta explains how sunk costs, groupthink, escalation of commitment, and conflicts of interest make failing projects so hard to kill.

Established Methods

  • Robert Wysocki elaborates on the co-manager model for complex projects, where a product manager and a process manager collaborate to lead a combined team.
  • Harry Hall catalogs some actions we can take to recognize and reward our project teams.
  • Elise Stevens interviews Hans Arnbjerg on how the PMO can help project managers engage with their stakeholders.
  • Mike Clayton a list of 22 excellent project management podcasts—“[some] extinct, some dormant, and some highly active.”
  • Alex Puscasu looks at the potential upside of integrating Scrum into Prince2.
  • Lew Sauder uses the Fitbit as an introduction to measures of project health: one metric does not tell a meaningful story.

Agile Methods

  • Stefan Wolpers curates his weekly round-up of Agile content, from the C-suite’s fondness for Big Bangs to what we can learn from the customer service debacle at United Airlines, to the Museum of Failure.
  • Jordan Koschel explains how to deal with design debt. Like technical debt, only more visible to your user community.
  • Anurag Prakash takes a critical look at the way burn-downs are used in practice. Let project structure drive your choice of metrics.
  • The Clever PM interviews one of his mentors, Rich Mironov. Based on this interview, I’m now following Rich’s blog.
  • Jesse Fewell addresses the question: where is the project manager role in Agile methods? Just 7 minutes, safe for work.
  • Ryan Ripley interviews Lisa Crispin and Amitai Schleier on the fine art of co-presenting at conferences, co-writing books, and Agile testing. Just 44 minutes, safe for work.

Applied Leadership

  • Glen Alleman identifies seven key behaviors that can be found in a weak leader.
  • Coert Visser examines the difference between (benign) admiration and (malicious) envy and how each motivates us.
  • Jayath Jayarathna guides us through managing subject matter experts.
  • Elizabeth Harrin interviews Karen Chovan, project manager and advocate for clean, lean, and green solutions.

Technology, Techniques, and Human Behavior

  • Naomi Caietti explains the six emotional intelligence behaviors and skill sets necessary for project and program managers.
  • John Goodpasture shares his FAQ on systems engineering.
  • Brendan Toner lists his ten most useful iPad apps. I have five of them on my iPad and similar apps for four of the others. And we both drink Bushmills, so there’s that.

Working and the Workplace

  • Ron Rosenhead notes a survey of workers in various professions that found only the legal profession is more boring that project management. Statisticians and journalists didn’t make the list, which makes it somewhat suspect …
  • Andy Kaufman interviews author Amy Blankson on the strategies we can use to stay productive and happy when surrounded by interactive tech. Just 49 minutes, safe for work.
  • Lisette Sutherland interviews Jerry Koch-Gonzales on the practice of Sociocracy in group meetings. Just 38 minutes, safe for work.

Enjoy!

The post New PM Articles for the Week of April 17 – 23 appeared first on The Practicing IT Project Manager.

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Why momentum works

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Gabriel Goh models momentum over at the new machine learning journal Distill. The visualization is not the focus, but it’s a nice supplement to help explain more complex concepts to a wider audience. More generally, if you haven’t checked out Distill yet, it’s worth your time.

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7 days ago
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Russian Beyond Russia

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Posters and ads in Russian and Kazakh are seen outside a small store in Shymkent, Kazakhstan. President Nursultan Nazarbayev's recent statement that the Kazakh language would move from the Cyrillic to the Latin script by 2025 has renewed political debate over the language question in Kazakhstan.

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Don’t “empower” anybody.

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I hate the word “empowerment.”

I never think I should “empower” anyone — especially our employees.

Why? The definition of the word “empower” is:

to give power to (someone); to make (someone) stronger and more confident.

The key words here are “give” and “make.” Empowerment means you’re transferring power to someone else. You think someone else needs you — your permission, your influence, your talents — to do something. And I don’t ever believe that’s the case.

Our employees don’t need me to do anything.

When it comes to motivation, everything people need they already have inside them. Each person has something unique, special and important to offer the world. And as a leader, it’s my job to merely create the best environment that allows them to come into that themselves.

As Frederick Herzberg, a well-known American psychologist, once wrote:

“It’s the job of the manager not to light the fire of motivation, but to create an environment to let each person’s personal spark of motivation blaze.”

Instead of thinking about how you can empower people, here’s what you should consider:

How can I get out of our employees’ way?

How can I better understand what our employees really want?

How can I make it clear why what they do matters?

How can I uncover what makes meaningful, interesting work for that person?

How can I illustrate what “good enough” looks like?

How can I show what trade-offs we value as a company?

How can I consistently treat each person with respect, patience, and kindness?

How can I seek out dissenting viewpoints, and be open to new ideas?

How can I be clear and inclusive about the vision we’re all working toward?

How can I create opportunities for connection and a sense of belonging at our company?

You don’t need to empower anybody. Focus on creating an environment for people to be their best selves.

Looking to create the best environment for your employees’ intrinsic motivation to come to light? Take a look at our software Know Your Company — we help hundreds of CEOs in 15+ countries ask questions to their employees to uncover how to create the best work environment possible for them.

(If you found this article helpful, please click the ❤ below so others can find it! And please say hi at @cjlew23 — I always love meeting new people.)


Don’t “empower” anybody. was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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drpratten
9 days ago
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