Ever had boss envy?
Or team envy?
You look at a peer in your organisation and wonder – how on earth is he able to high five his team and not look like he’s trying too hard?
Or you see the team on the other side of the office and question how they get work done and laugh all. the. time.
Why them and not you?
In this week’s episode of the Masks Off podcast, Olivier and I were joined by a spikey-haired, softly-spoke chap called Jurgen Appelo (whose description I clearly enjoy hyphenating).
In his TED talk, he reflected on how he used to be a bad manager and now is a not-so-bad one.
Spikey haired, softly spoken, and humble. We like that.
He shared with us how he got to the point where his team would cook a meal for him, and actually thought it was their idea. Not his.
He was the boss that would high-five his team and not look like he was trying too hard. His team were the ones who were productive and laughed all the time.
I’ll come onto how he achieved that in a moment.
But first, a question:
Are you an introvert?
I don’t mean the shy, retiring type who never leaves the house, lives through the internet and exists on a diet of sighs and piles of Yachters Weekly they don’t remember subscribing to.
I mean the type that enjoys being around people, but too much of it is a drain on your energy.
You need time to deflate, reflect and re-energise.
And if you’re an introvert, are you also a manager of people?
It seems like a recipe for people-management disaster, doesn’t it?
Like the job’s a constant energy drainer, you’re battling to get some me-time and when this battle fails continually, you’re left to wonder: What did I just sign up for?
In theory, introverts don’t make good managers of people.
But the theory couldn’t be further from the truth.
Especially when you manage the system, not the people.
Jurgen explains this concept beautifully, with examples of how he’s used it (as an introvert who’s also a manager of people) and what he learned along the way.
Like getting his team to manage their conflicts themselves instead of coming to him, complaining about a colleague, and expecting him to solve it.
Or giving sensitive, difficult feedback to his team when they all work remotely and he can’t have a private face-to-face conversation with them.
Or creating a bonus system that’s triggered by a roll of dice.
That’s right. Like gambling.
Jogen’s full of smart, practical tools managers can use to make their team more productive, happier and easier to manage well.
Ready to manage the system, not the people?
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