Saturday, August 10, 2013

Three Ways to Change Others, Starting With Yourself: 99 Ways Workshop #47

The Software Testing Club recently put out an eBook called "99 Things You Can Do to Become a Better Tester". Some of them are really general and vague. Some of them are remarkably specific.

My goal for the next few weeks is to take the "99 Things" book and see if I can put my own personal spin on each of them, and make a personal workshop out of each of the suggestions.

Suggestion #47: Come up with three ways that your boss, your co-worker, and your trainee can become better at their jobs ... then apply it to yourself. - Jeff Lucas

I have to say that I really like this one. Very often we look to externalize the traits that we want to see changed in others, but we don't take the time to see if those traits are present in us as well. This is so straightforward that the workshop will be exactly as the suggestion… well, suggests :).

Workshop #47: Come up with three ways that your boss, your co-worker, and your trainee can become better at their jobs ... then apply it to yourself. 

Leadership is a two way process. You need to be willing to lead, but you also need to be inspiring enough to encourage others to be led by you. Taking some time to examine aspects of what those who work around you do, and then applying the lessons to yourself first, can have tremendous positive effects. 

Consider your manager, or your VP, or some other person in the organization.

What are they doing that you personally find frustrating? Be specific about what it is.

Now, ask yourself:

Are there aspects that they have control over (examining individual approaches to problems and challenges)?
Are there aspects that they do not have control over (overall policies as to the way business is conducted)?
Focus on areas that an individual can actually accomplish or change.

These aspects are especially important at the peer level and at the level of those you supervise. Nothing screams hypocrisy more than expecting people to behave in a way that you yourself will not behave. If there is something you wish your team members would learn, take the time and make the effort to learn it first, then share what you have learned with them.

Bottom Line:

Coaching and mentoring are important parts of any organization, and it doesn't just go one way. If you hope to mentor others, you need to exemplify and practice the traits you hope to see others embrace. That goes for the people you report to, are peers with and who may report to you. Try it out and see if the change you make in yourself doesn't start to be emulated by others, even when you haven't told them what you are doing ;). 

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