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🔮Five future skills for team members that will help avoid burnout, decrease stress and thrive on the market. All based on working with 100+ teams
Bali kite culture is something I didn’t see anywhere else. If the photograph interests you, you can see my story, “Dancing with Dragons”, which I’ve built across several weeks during the dry season. Now back to the regular programming...
I’ve been working with more than 100 teams in my career and have gone through plenty of situations where I witnessed conflict, burnout, and frustration among team members.
These five skills can help you deal with the above like a pro and take ownership of how you react instead of being a victim.
I will pass on the particular tech skills as I’m not an expert here, and they differ from stack to stack.
Getting comfortable with the uncomfortable - whether that's a conflict, change of opinions, a reorganisation, etc. You don't need to thrive in these situations, yet approach them with curiosity and a stable mind. What helps is:
👉🏼 Knowing you don't have control over what happens, but you do have control over how you respond to it
👉🏼 Learning to ask the right questions to others and yourself e.g.
In conflict - what led to this situation arising? What do you need from me right now?
Reorganisation - how should I take care of myself in this change? What is needed from me in the new setup? How can I learn more about what is coming? To whom that I trust can I reach out for support, guidance, or to vent?
👉🏼 It boils down to how you can take ownership of your fate and make the first decisions that will push you into a new scenario where you make things happen.
📖 “Man’s search for meaning” - Viktor E. Frankl
Be helpful to others - being helpful can mean a lot of things, e.g.:
👉🏼 Writing useful code reviews instead of lashing out
👉🏼 Singalling we need a break when things get rough on a meeting
👉🏼 Helping the team reach a conclusion
👉🏼 Taking an interest in the team and not only your work
WHY? To feel elevated, to know you left something better than you found it, to make an impact.
📖 “In Helping Others, You Help Yourself” - Psychology Today by Marianna Pogosyan Ph.D.
Make an impact - on the business, end-user, and your team. I once worked with a team that thought the business was going in the wrong direction with the product. A “regular” team would mention it once on the Sprint Review and give up. They didn’t.
They created a business case with an early prototype and pitched it to the aforementioned business. It worked, and the product pivoted.
Making an impact is about being able to say “no”, influence, to take things that are in your control, and there is much more in your control than you might think, e.g.:
👉🏼 Questions you ask your team or stakeholders
👉🏼 Your craftsmanship standards
👉🏼 How do you arrange the work in your team
📖 “The future of programming” - lecture by Bob C. Martin on standards for software engineers
Learn how to reframe a situation - so you can focus on making things happen instead of feeling crippled by the situation, e.g.:
👉🏼 Stupid users don’t get it again => what did we miss in introducing this feature to the clients.
👉🏼 Business injects random stuff to our sprints => we need to educate the business more on how we work, and it’s consequences.
👉🏼 This pesky Scrum Master is not helping again => we need to say what we need from this role.
👉🏼 I hate this accounting thing when working as a contractor => accounting is something I get to do because I’m successful.
The quality of your thoughts and emotions comes from how you approach things and the frame of your mind. It’s not about deceiving yourself but focusing your efforts on a more constructive side.
📖 “Reframing Your Way out of Old Arguments” - Psychology Today by James L Creighton Ph.D.
Naming things - in a non-violent way is a superpower. What does it mean? It means saying what we see without unnecessary emotions or in a threatening manner, e.g.
👉🏼 I see we struggle during our Daily meeting to say out loud that what we pursue does not make sense (instead of “Dailies suck”)
👉🏼 [on Sprint Review] We value your feedback, yet we don’t get enough of it. We need more specifics from you, like answering, “How does it bring us closer to the shape of the product you envisioned?”
👉🏼 I’m tense each time I get a comment on my PR request. Can we please talk through how we do these?
This superpower lies in speaking up on what others might be observing yet not knowing how to articulate or are afraid to. The other part is that if we name something, it’s already out there, and we must deal with it as a team.
It’s about being constructive and helpful, not blunt. It’s about being together in the trenches, discussing the uncomfortable and supporting one another.
📖 “Getting naked” by Patrick Lancioni
📖 Non-violent Communication by Joshua Schultz, Psy.D.
What are the other tools you think might be future skills for team members, experts to nourish in the future?
🎈Share this post if you think it can help your team members or colleagues to reduce tension and be build new skills.