Praise public and long, blame private and quick!

Some time ago, I was working as a project coach. Everything was fine, I was working with a great team, iterations were delivered on time.

Their was a small problem in the company. One person did not deliver on time. The person was nice, but he constantly under delivered.

I proposed to the CEO to put the guy in my team (under my surveillance?). Oh yeah, what was I thinking? That I would fix it up? That’s rather a big ego.

To make a long story short, what happened was that I was spending all my time, more and more micro managing the guy. And less of my time to the team doing the good work. Parents can already tell you the rest of the story. When you put all your attention to the one misbehaving child, the others start misbehaving too. That is more or less what happened. I can not say the others where misbehaving,  but I can say we did not deliver that iteration.

So I switched my interaction with that person. I told him the deadlines and gave everything he needed to know and when I found he was wrong I send it short by email without emotional message around it (that is what I tried, I might not have done the emotionally part completely good.).

The team I praised in public and I made sure I spend more time with them as with the persons not delivering.

It did not save the position of this person in the company. He will probably blame me for that, oh well that’s life. What is important that my team picked up again.

I am Yves Hanoulle, your virtual Project coach and you can reach me at yves at my agile training company .net


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