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March 16th, 2010

by Pavel Cheshmedjiev


I tried to make a short review of  some of the best soft skills antipatterns that I have met. The idea is not about mocking or not only about it.  Such epic failures of the art of managing people should be considered very carefully because of their importance in the process of building capable development team or at least finding the right place to work and devote to.

Name: Top Motivator
  • Executor: at least department manager
  • Tone: solid, epic
  • Audience: as much as possible
  • Environment: huge hall, might be canteen if such is not available
  • Expected result: absolute devotion to work and better reporting
  • Key phrase: “I know you are very good professionals, definitely the best in the region/continent/world, but you should keep in mind that – if we lose clients you won’t get your salaries !”
Name: Top Democrat
  • Executor: team or department manager
  • Tоне: polite, serious
  • Audience: only before new team member
  • Environment: office with solid walls
  • Expected result: absolute submission to the manager
  • Key phrase: “Look, my team/department is the best and everybody knows it. We have image, respect, we have everything. But is it nothing like democrasy here. You will keep quiet, you’ll listen to me and we won’t have any problems.”
Name: Top Technical Manager
  • Executor: senior manager of technical department/program
  • Tone: very irritated, pathetic
  • Audience: internal management meeting
  • Environment: meeting room with presentation of slides with coloured boxes
  • Expected result: some tech guy should be ashamed
  • Key phrase: “How dare you lose my time with such technical details ! This is scandalous ! I’m going out !”
Name: Top Professional
  • Executor: senior manager
  • Tone: friendly but hypocritical
  • Audience: face to face meeting
  • Environment: office
  • Expected result: maximized hard skiller’s respect and feeling of  insignificance
  • Key phrase: “I’ve done your job before – I know it very well but now I am a manager and I have no time for your problems.”
Name:  Top Team Leader
  • Executor: team manager
  • Tone: calm, hypocritical
  • Audience: team managers
  • Environment: meeting room
  • Expected result: Team Leader’s reputation should be improved significantly
  • Key phrase: “My team consists of a number of small working bees but they are not capable of achieving anything without me as their only mentor and leader”

Top Supporter, Top Delegator, Top Worker, Top Enthusiast and Top Performance Reviewer will be the subject of one of the next papers, because of their exceptional importance in the corporate life. In fact I think that they are even more important and respectively irritating than the  others because they are directly related to our everyday work.

Thanks for the time.

3 Responses to “ Top antipatterns to inspire and motivate your team ”

  1. ivko3 says:

    Would you please tell us about top code inspector’s anti-patterns :-)

  2. pafka says:

    I will ! Code Inspector skills are very delicate and anti-patterns are likely to appear :)

  3. SemiSoftSkillGuy says:

    Guys, this topic is really wide and you just scratched the surface so far. I expected more from you ;)
    I will offer you a little extension of Top Team Leader in the face of Top Manager:
    Big shiny generous manager approach: I will leave all the work to you and will disturb you all the time with administration and parallel xxxxxx. But if you by chance succeed and need to present the results I will jump in, interrupt you, explain many things(which everybody knows) around noisily, so it become clear to everybody that all that happen under my supervision, because of me and for me.
    “Clever” idea behind: While my stupid hard-skill ? people think I’m helping with presentations (because I’m so good in that and they are not), I convince all the managers above that I did most of the job. So my clever person gets 2 benefits: people are motivated because of my help and my career is boosted
    —————-
    Top gray mouse manager approach:
    Be silent on all the quarrels, don’t do anything in the job, delegate everything to the team alone… If problem occurs, invite everybody and leave them work it out alone… This way the gray mouse is not enemy of anybody, looks calm and professional, people like him/her because never yell on them.
    But, in case higher management have some desires or position jumps in the shoes of active people, explains his position(always matches higher management) with some arguments and tries to work-out a win for the managers… Then go back to gray mouse sleep until the next higher management problem…. This behavior really motivates the team.

    We are still expecting the Top Enthusiast and Performance Reviewer….

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