Like Real People Do

The Importance of Failing Fast When Managing Humans

The title of Manager is one that up until recently has instilled a level of fear in me. The fact that it is regularly used interchangeably with Leader in the corporate world probably doesn’t help.

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We need to stop fearing failure and take more risks with encouraging developers

Why Fail Fast?

The concept of failing fast is rooted deep within innovation theory. As much as our massively inflated egos would like to think otherwise, we are not infallible. We often don’t know if the latest wacky idea to solve our problem will actually work. By encouraging early failure, we empower teams to openly propose new ideas. Diversification of thought and workforce has already been established as vital for organisations to compete in the market. Yet if we can adopt such a nurturing environment for product development, why can the same not be said for people development?

Managers Aren’t Psychopaths… Usually

A key motivation of human behaviour is maintaining the balance between pleasure and pain. Unless you are a masochistic individual, it is more likely that your actions are an attempt to maximise the former. Good managers establish a strong rapport with their directs, without getting too sucked in. It may be easier to switch your emotions off the moment you enter that intimidating corporate tower of doom. However, by flicking that switch you lose a connection with colleagues that you can leverage to support them in completing their best work.

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Managers still need to connect with their directs to get the best work from them

Chain… Keeps Us Together

One of the hardest challenges I’ve had to conquer over the last six months is being able to let things go. Both in terms of delegating work, and admitting defeat in ongoing battles. A key benefit of delegating is to develop another person. As failing fast on a task is an amazing thing, we need to become comfortable with letting them make those mistakes. Even if sometimes they need to make the exact same one we have ourselves done before.

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Developers may enjoy playing with code, but we should nurture and encourage mistakes

Lead software engineer with a strong interest in Agile, UX and Usability. Lover of cooking, tea, photography and gin!

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