Saturday, May 26, 2012

Good team, Bad team

Realised I'd upset someone with a few of the comments yesterday and it's probably the closest I've come to going back to a finished post and hacking bits out of it.

While I don't talk that much, I always speak from the heart (I'm a terrible liar too) and try to say what I mean. Trouble is, when you're forming impressions from very limited information, that's when you can really upset people. Seemingly innocent phrases (like me getting called by my brother's name) will kick the legs out from under people.

Been thinking about what made my old team so good to work in. We had such a good attitude that people wanted to work in our team. We worked hard under pressure from outside and above but worked together. The norm for my place is for people to do 18 months to 2 years in one place, then they'll move on. I disagree with that (and call it Tourism) because it takes a while to figure out what you're supposed to be doing. As soon as they do, the tourists leave and all that effort gone into teaching them is wasted.

My old team turned that around, with tourists turning into lifers. We care.

But what makes that team spirit ? It doesn't come from the top. It comes from Worker Bee level. Worker Bees tend to be scared of their bosses. If one gets too friendly, we get suspicious. When one turns into a bully (this goes years back), then the Worker Bees come together.

We were very lucky to have a core of Worker Bees who set a tone that everyone followed. I like to consider myself as one of them, because of the always grinning at people thing, generally being an IT Guru willing and able to help with sensible suggestions to fix problems and I ran a few team building type things with the cricket. Oh and as an integrator, I had my fingers in just about everything in the project.

That's what's causing my increasing sense of isolation - I miss all that stuff and feel excluded from the team-y type stuff that happens. I need to feel a sense of being involved.

There was also Diablo, with me and Diablo forming our own little nucleus of crazy daft comments and Mad Scientist ideas that just got everyone else going.

We had The Boss, who was another one of us Worker Bees. She wasn't the team leader but she told a succession of them what they'd be doing. She's got her own special brand of empathy and is still one of very few people I'll turn to when I need to talk heavy stuff.

About that heavy stuff - there's a fair bit that goes on that I don't put on here. Either because it's too personal, too private or because it involves someone else's secret.

Last of the Worker Bee Core but definitely not least - the Snow Queen. For a very long time, our Snow Queen was the Heart of our team. Someone who everyone (from team leader down) looked to. More than anyone else, she held us together over the years. When it looked a few years ago like her own place was becoming untenable a few things were going through my head :

Her friends and family and hubby make for an awesome support network that would help her through
It would break my own heart to see her leave
And it shattered that heart to have to advise her that leaving was the best of bad options
(the situation was not good)

That's one thing about going off incomplete information or bad assumptions, it disrupts the advice that you give.

So that was the core of that team that worked so well over the years. People followed the lead of the Worker Bees. Top level management can arrange the people but if the people aren't interested, then the team spirit doesn't build. That's not it though. We didn't worry so much about the management though, we wanted to deliver something awesome. And we have.

I don't see that so much from the team I'm in now. There's no core of the team for other people to follow. Their finished product is a long way off.

I said stuff about Anti-Team yesterday and there are a few of those influences around. We managed to moderate them down through disapproval in the old team. That moderation doesn't seem present in this team leading to the bad behaviour spreading. For the people who came with me from old team to new, it's felt like a losing struggle trying to integrate.

Will I miss this team ? Still no.
Will I miss the people we brought with us from the old team who are getting left behind ? Hell Yeah.

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