What would a team of agile coaches look like putting up a tent? We read all the time about hiring senior employees with amazing EQ over hiring proficiently skilled workers who are introverted. The inter-webs is united that the answer is in hiring people who are amazingly social, in hiring people who can read other people, people with high emotional intelligence that can understand what we are all feeling. Hiring people that can show empathy.
Agile Coaching, as a profession (and one I love, it is my other gig), is full of high EQ people. We focus on deep listening, looking for social queues, finding the deeper meaning, and in bringing people together but what would it look like if we tried to put up a tent?
Agile Coach 1 (Mark): “We should put up a tent”
Agile Coach 2 (Amy): “What is behind your statement”
Agile Coach 3 (Sam): “It is getting dark and will likely get cold. Mark is looking out for our needs and wants to keep us warm and safe”
Agile Coach 1 (Mark): “Yes, and it is always a good idea to be prepared early and before dark”
Agile Coach 3 (Jessica): “Mark is right. This is a great idea. We should put up a tent”
Agile Coach 2 (Amy): “I agree Jessica putting up a tent is good idea. Should we discuss our goals with setting up a tent”
Agile Coach 3 (Sam): “Amy, goals are a good idea. I think Mark is feeling something he isn’t saying. Mark?”
Agile Coach 1 (Mark): “This is good discussion and it is great we are setting goals. I like how Amy, Jessica, and you Sam are all coming together to get this accomplished. It is getting dark very soon. We should set up a tent”
Agile Coach 2 (Amy): “So we are agreed on our working agreement. We should really put the tent up”
The previous conversation is a fictionalized account of what I see in Agile Coaching and in high EQ workplaces all the time. The act of doing and committing to doing work is nearly a fire able offense. To ask some one to commit to an action or to get a group to agree, as a group, to do an action (not delegate) brings anger, resentment, hate, hurt feelings, distrust, and any other number of negative emotions you can conjure. And because of this Enterprises across the world have conversations about conversations about work and not work.
I still fondly remember the time I was sitting in a meeting talking about the work instead of doing the work with a team of software developers politely attending but really just actually working on their laptops. Towards the end we finally came to a consensus on what we thought we wanted others to maybe possibly do sometime in the future and a developer chimed up, we’re done do you want to see a demo? (TRUE STORY)
Hire technical people that GSD! You know what, these “introverts” and “skilled knowledge workers” that are the bane of every organization for not understanding EQ and focusing on work are the people that get stuff done. Even more? They are fun people. They love to hang out and have a chill fest just not when work has to get done. Create a stable, sustainable environment where technical people will be able to GSD without working all night and weekend and you will find a culture of warm, friendly people that are engaging and fun to be around who maybe just can’t read your face when you are having a bad day but tell everyone life is fantastic.
Besides, introverts and technical workers cried when Old Yeller died too.