The Best Software Tester in the World?

Attention to detailIf you ask ten testers to each test something, you will typically see a varied amount of defects detected. This will still be the case if all of the testers had exactly the same experience and testing knowledge. This is quite often down to how focused the tester is when looking at something (attention to detail). While at first glance something may look good, but on closer inspection, defects can be seen. Attention to detail is what makes a great tester stand out from a good tester.DiplomacyDuring the day-to-day tasks a software tester has, there will invariably come a time when the tester needs to converse with others, more often than not with software developers. When speaking to a developer about a bug they found, the tester must always bear in mind, that they are essentially finding fault in that developer’s work. Diplomacy skills are a key asset to any software tester as they are paramount in building and maintaining a healthy working relationship with the development team. A poor relationship between software testers and developers can negatively impact any software development and place unnecessary risk on the project.


Quick LearnerSoftware testers that work for outsourced QA companies will often find themselves switching between a huge variety of projects, which today may include web, mobile, smart products and wearable tech. Being able to ramp-up on a product saves precious time during a development life-cycle. Sometimes software will need to be tested that has no documentation. Therefore, the software tester needs to be able to explore the software and quickly extract the information they need. This key information may be used to create a test plan, a set of test cases or QA estimate.PassionateIt is easy to spot software testers that are passionate about the software they are testing. They typically find more defects and they show enthusiasm during meetings for not only the product they are testing, but also for software testing in general. Clients are much more likely to re-hire software testers that are enthusiastic about their product. On the flip side, software testers that show no enthusiasm quickly stand-out and it invariably shows in the quality of their QA work.Business OrientedA great software tester can see the product as whole and take on the mind-set of the intended audience. This skill is extremely useful in reporting issues that may otherwise be found by the end users after the product’s release. Another aspect of business orientation is the ability to understand why a certain functionality is being introduced, and applying this knowledge to their testing. This information can enhance the testing being performed and provide a richer set of results. A tester should also be able to appreciate that deadlines need to be met(and as is often the case) may result in a reduced amount of time for QA. Being flexible and understanding of the business impact of the deadline of a release is extremely important to the relationship of the test team with the rest of the product stakeholders.


ConclusionThere is no specific criteria as to what makes the best software in the world, as each company, or project may have a different requirement or goal as to what they want the software tester to achieve. Our QA team’s experience of testing a wide variety of software products for clients all over the globe has given us great insight as to what kind of testers we needed to make those projects a success.

Seven Team Development Ideas for Team Leaders

There are some foundational elements involved in supporting and growing a team to its potential. Unless these elements are present and fostered by the team leader, the team will not be motivated to accomplish its objectives. Furthermore, it will also be stunted in its growth causing it to continually underperform. I therefore want to share with you 7 key elements that need to be attended to on a continual basis in order to create a high performing team. I also want to give you some simple approaches to addressing and improving these elements.

Commitment level

Often leaders are too afraid to be up front about the need for team commitment. Yet in today’s environment people are looking for something to commit to. Individuals are looking to belong to something bigger than they are, which is worthy of their attention. Therefore team leaders need to share their commitment expectations and draw a picture of what commitment can do for individuals who commit to a team. Discussions need to be conducted on what behaviours the members feel would be appropriate for successful synergy and productive outcomes.

Some workshop ideas would be to discuss what teamwork looks like for this particular team. What behaviours do they see need to be consistent in order to work well together and to accomplish team objectives? If each member can be given a sheet of paper to write down a list of behaviours and then asked to share in the group. It brings a deeper sense of clarity and accountability to the group about all the unspoken expectations that exist. It can also be helpful to get them to list the unacceptable behaviours for the team. What should not be tolerated?

Be ready if issues arise from this because of existing behaviours that may be currently tolerated by some. If defensive behaviours begin to arise from such a transparent discussion, simply label it. “I’m sensing defensiveness arising in our discussion – I am just wondering if we see it as important to be able to have these types of discussions and not to get caught up in emotional reactiveness? I personally think this is important for high quality teams in order to deal with tough issues. What does everybody else think?”

Clear individual and team values defined

It is astounding how many times people work in teams having individual values that conflict with team values. Much of the time, initially such conflict occurs without awareness from other team members, until there is a collision of perspectives. Hence, it is important for team members to know each other and to respect different ways of viewing things. There are great online assessment tools that can aid team leaders in assisting team members to grow in this process. Each team member can privately clarify what their own values are and how that affects their behavior and each team member also receives an aggregate score of what the team thinks of the organization. For a team to be most effective value conflicts should be minimised, then it will bring a greater natural commitment from individuals to the objectives of the team and to each other.

Some workshop ideas to foster discussions on team values revolve around getting individuals to share what is most important for them in a team. You could use a set of cards with each having a team value on it (eg. focus, challenge, vision, commitment, loyalty, unity, co-operation, trust, diversity, respect, organisation, outcomes, etc…) This works well, I spread them out and ask members to choose one or two that are the most important values for team success. I then get them to go around the room and share what they chose and why they thought it was important. It is not rocket science, but it sure deepens team member awareness.

Oft-times people can add significant weight to their particular choice through sharing from experience. This can heighten the impact of how important this is to them. This is an opportunity to ask, “Is this the type of values we want to foster in our team?” If so, why – what will it do for us? After everyone has shared their perspective, you can also point out to the team how different perspectives are helpful in aiding us not to miss important areas for team success.

Team purpose

Every organisation can benefit from being clear on its purpose. There is where a clear mission statement can be helpful. It is an effective means of getting people on the same page and being of one purpose. However, the mission statement itself is not that important, it is the journey to the statement that is most important. When facilitated well, organisational members are able to contribute to the process and adjust their sense of purpose to the organisation.

Hence team leaders need to learn to take their team members on such a journey. It doesn’t need to happen in one session. But the journey is well worth taking. Furthermore, if new members are continually joining the team there needs to be time set aside to revisit the mission statement and discuss the ongoing journey to contribute to and discover the higher purpose of the team.

A team exercise that can be helpful in this endeavour is to start a discussion on the priorities of the team. “What are our key priorities?” Once clarified, discuss how the priorities work toward achieving the mission of the team / organisation.

Clear Measurable Goals and Action-steps

It might seem obvious, but how many teams and team members do not take the time to sit down and write out their goals? And how many do not know how to, nor have ever been trained in how to develop their goals? Written goals help maintain a certain amount of accountability to team outcomes by each member of the team. Written goals stamp out the human capacity to rationalize mediocre efforts into successes. A written goal cannot be argued with when a review process is undertaken. Written goals formed within the larger purpose, aid Leaders in the celebration of milestones, engendering an atmosphere of success.

Just remember that a goal is a picture of the final result. A major responsibility of team leaders is to keep team members reminded of the Higher Purpose in each goal. A dynamic team cannot exist unless there is a common task. When teams work together in this process, they work together to remove obstacles and develop synergistic strategies.

One helpful exercise is to use a whiteboard and divide it into quadrants. Give them headings 1. Vision (3 year perspective), 2. Goals (1 year), 3. Projects (90 day) and 4. Action-steps (weekly actions). Under heading one, get people to imagine they are now three years into the future and everything has gone perfectly to plan – “What does it look like?” In the second quadrant, with this picture in mind, what goals need to be set for this year? What needs to happen and by when? In the third quadrant, discuss what 90 day projects need to be focused upon and prioritised in order to see the annual goals achieved. In the fourth quadrant nail down what specific actions need to be taken this week in order to see the team’s projects completed on time?

Remember the process is one that is to engender full support from all team members. Make sure you get someone to write out the results from the workshop and post them prominently for the team to be reminded. Goals and action-steps that have been developed together and are written and clear are great supporters for quality accountability, taking pressure off of the team leader.

Emotional Intelligence (EI) development of team members

Let me just simplify this for a minute by saying EI involves two key elements. Firstly, it is the emotional growth of individuals where they are more self-aware of their reactive patterns (triggers) and of the reactive patterns of their team members. Secondly, it is using this newfound knowledge to channel their emotions into more empowering modes of operation where the team is all the better for the experience. I like to contrast the terms, “React” versus “Respond.” When team members can learn not to fly off the handle because they have learned to control their emotions, everyone wins.

Sometimes it seems impossible to improve the area of emotional intelligence in a team, but the key is to recognise it as being in the sphere of continuous improvement. You are unlikely to drastically transform team members’ EI levels within a short period of time. I have found that an assessment of individual team members coupled with some training on this topic is invaluable for improvement. Through training together the team receives a common language to discuss this phenomenon. Furthermore, if team members are willing to be vulnerable, opportunities will arise for feedback sessions to discuss ways to improve.

If you want to have a high performing team, then there is no shortcutting in this area. Just make sure you spell out the benefits that will occur for each team member if they put the time into improving in this area. You could mention the positive outcomes they should expect to receive such as, less stress, less conflict, greater unity, higher acceptance of diversity, appreciating team members working in their areas of strength, more effective communication, more satisfactory outcomes and higher job satisfaction – just to name a few.

Roles worked out and defined clearly

If there is one thing that can cause a team to come unstuck very quickly, it is when everybody doesn’t fully comprehend their role and the roles of everybody else in the team. When each individual knows their place and where everyone else fits, it is easier for leadership to show that all are needed in the team and that each has an important task to contribute to team outcomes. Respect is heightened and boundary conflicts are reduced. When each team member has a sense that they have something important to contribute to the team then morale is heightened and productivity is increased.

It is therefore important to review job descriptions and roles on a regular basis. It is up to the team leader in their individual discussions and six-monthly reviews with their team members to assess how accurately their job roles reflect their current required activities. If changes are needed then they need to not only be clarified to the individual team member, but to the whole team. There doesn’t need to be a significant amount of team time taken on discussing such changes, but it does need to be communicated accurately, showing how it benefits the team and the achievement of team objectives.

Effective team meetings

Team meetings can be the undoing of many potentially great teams. They can also be productive, fun and time efficient. The team leader therefore must take responsibility to facilitate them well. Functionally speaking, a well prepared agenda is important to make sure time is not wasted and that the order of the agenda is prioritised in line with the strategic intent of the team. It may not need to be said, but don’t place significantly important agenda items at the end – give them the discussion time they need.

Now when it comes to fun, there is actually a way to make meetings fun and in doing so make them more productive and less confrontational. The team needs to discuss the behavioural norms that they are expecting in team meetings and what is not going to be tolerated. You can creatively discuss specific things such as “yelling” and then come up with a specific phrase combined with an action that team members will use when they see this type of behaviour being demonstrated (see example below). I have done this in teams that I have lead and it is quite amazing how quickly people are confronted in a fun way and are swiftly prompted to move out of their current negative emotional state.

As an example, if someone is speaking over the top of others and not allowing team members to share their perspective, you could say something like, “Is there only one TV channel in this room?” And twist your hand around as if you were trying to change the channel. Because team members have all creatively come up with the unique phrases and combined actions, everyone (especially the culprit) is immediately aware of what behaviour is being exercised and recognised. Everyone has a quick smile or laugh and then the meeting immediately operates in a more productive manner. When a team can operate like this it allows for more innovative discussions without unnecessary dysfunctional team interaction.

Conclusion

Just remember, that team-building is never static. It is always something that the leader must be attending to. When it is attended to correctly it can bring about a powerful synergy where the team outcomes are greater than the sum total of the parts. It can be good to get specific feedback from team members every 6 months to see if you are keeping your finger on the teams’ pulse.

© David Allan, All rights reserved

Create, Build a Winning Team

There are certain points that every team manager and team player must stick to for the greater interest of the team as a whole.

This makes a team stand out and perform to impeccably.

Good leader & a great manager

“Leaders are people who do the right thing; managers are people who do things right.”

~ Warren G Bennis.

Leadership is all about creating a compelling vision of the future, translating and communicating that vision, and helping people understand and abide by it.

Managers, on the other hand, are responsible for ensuring that the vision is implemented efficiently and successfully.

A team leader has to have a right mix of both these skills.

Delegation is the key word

No matter how skilled you are, there’s only so much you can achieve working on your own. With a team behind you, you can achieve so much more: that’s why it’s so important that you delegate effectively.

Being absolutely aware of each member’s ability to deliver and rightly delegating work for effective deliverance.

Motivation is another benchmark

The challenge as a team leader is find effective ways to keep a team motivated.

Good communications with every team member, being the perfect front man for the team are few things that can keep any team motivated.

Remember a de-motivated team can do nothing, even if each single team member may have loads of prospect.

Handling team members

It requires special skills to communicate effectively with each and every team member with varied kinds of temperament and character types.

There are various kinds of people, some are a wee bit aggressive, some too passive, some are overly enthusiastic yet un-realistic and some think they are catalysts of change.

With all these types the team has to perform to perfection and deliver excellence. It is the skill of the manager/leader to communicate the team goal effectively to each member and ensure that the team functions together.

Being their speaker

The team leader is the front man of the team and he/she has to effectively co ordinate with the stakeholders to ensure what they want.

The better you communicate with your stakeholders, the easier it will be for you to translate the team goal to your team.

It is also your responsibility to safeguard your team from excess pressure and other external challenges.

A ready reckoner for every team leader

  • Be a perfect leader and a manager of your team
  • Create the right mix of being the leader and the person who manages the show
  • Delegate work effectively
  • Keep every member motivated, the team functions better
  • Learn the art of handling different kinds of team members
  • Be their speaker, mentor and coach too

The spirited team player

The leader/manager has the responsibility of a leading and managing the team but the onus of performance lies with each and every member of the team.

Every institution prefers to employ candidates who are good and effective team players. Now what makes one a good team player. The following skills sets will enable you to be the perfectly spirited and performing team player.

Reliability and flexibility

As a team player you must be flexible in your ability to function and deliver as wanted by your team leader in the greater interest of the team as a whole.

Your ability to deliver will ties you in a bond of reliability with other team members and the team leader.

Be a part of the solution not the problem

A good team player has the ability to perform under stressful conditions. Rather than pondering over the problem, you will be marked higher if you can act together with the team and troubleshoot to a solution. Evert team leader prefers team players who have the ability to find solutions.

Treat others respectfully and create a harmony in the team

It is an absolute no for team player to be doing things that may hurt the larger interest of the team or threaten to create a disharmony in the team. A good team member reflects the ability to bond with the team and perform in harmony. Respecting others and being disciplined is also another essential quality of a team player.

An active listener

A good listener is always preferred over a poor listener. If you do not listen with awareness you will not be able to receive what your team leader has to instruct. If that happens then the functionality of the team as a whole suffers. Being an ardent listener solves lots of problems and saves time too.

Try to communicate with ease

Every team needs people who speak up and express their thoughts and ideas clearly, directly, honestly, and with respect for others and for the work of the team.

That’s what it means to communicate constructively. Such a team member does not refrain from making a point but makes it in the most respectful and amicable manner possible – in a positive, confident manner.

The ‘Make it happen’ type

Good team players are essentially active participants. They come well prepared for team meetings, listen, and speak up in discussions.

They’re fully engaged in the work of the team and do not sit passively on the sidelines. This keeps the player and other members of the team motivated too. He/she is a valuable asset for any team.

Types of team members

1-The perennial yes man

A person who always agree to everything which is proposed or discussed. A person who will agree to opposite sides of the agreements. He/she is either not assertive, avoids conflict or wants to be friends with everybody.

His popular response ” Good idea – Excellent plan”

  • How to manage these: Use them to kick start the meeting as they are excellent as cheer leaders and can draw the shy members to contribute.

Types of team members

2-The Negative Person

It doesn’t matter how many hard facts are behind a suggestion, this pessimist will be negative about an idea. The good news is that this team member does usually come up with good alternatives. He/she most used phrase is ‘This won’t work’

  • How to manage these: Treat this team member with tolerance and patience and ask them give the logic for their belief. Also do not ask them to give their opinion first.

Types of team members

3. The Workhorse

The workhorse is the person who could end up doing all the real work, once he reveals himself to other team members. As a team manager, you’ll have to keep an eye out for this possibility. There is a danger (if a workhorse is detected) that the team will pile all the work onto the workhorse, and the workhorse will burn out.

Usual response from a workhorse: “I’ll do that if you don’t have time.”

  • How to manage a workhorse: If you notice somebody volunteering to take on the work of his fellow team members a little too much, you should step in. By allowing the team to take advantage of one member, you will run the risk of letting the entire team fall apart. In the end, nothing will be accomplished.

Types of Team Members

4. The Flash-in-the-Pan

A flash-in-the-pan starts out full of energy and optimism at the team’s initial meeting, then disappears from sight. He volunteers a lot–then doesn’t follow through.

Popular response from the flash-in-the-pan: (On the first day) ” I would like to take responsibility for these”

  • How to manage a flash-in-the-pan: The flash-in-the-pan volunteers and is very enthusiastic the first day or initially but disappears after making male excuses. Should never be trusted with the critical roles. Best used for back support roles. To avoid this, you should keep an eye out for somebody who volunteers for too many roles on the first day. Make sure the job assignments are equitable and manageable.

Follow these to be a valuable team player

  • Be flexible when it comes to team affairs and exhibit traits so others can rely on you
  • Do not be the mess-maker, be the solution provider
  • Treat others with respect and be in your best behaviour
  • Do not create disharmony in team affairs, do not try to be different without a cause
  • Be an active listener
  • Communicate with confidence and with ease.
  • Be an active participant in all team affairs

Good leaders and good players make a good team

Just like you need good team leaders/managers for every team to perform, you must have effective team players who stick to the rules and perform top perfection. Only then can you have a team that keeps delivering excellence every day. The above mentioned guideline will enable team leaders to be great frontend of their team and team players will be able to function in perfect harmony

How To Grow A Self Managing Team

Growing a Self-Managing Team requires a unique set of skills not normally possessed by conventional team leaders. So what does it take to grow a Self-Managing Team?

Self-Managing Teams require considerable expertise from their leaders.

Six areas of capability are required:

• Belief and Commitment
• Continuous Improvement
• Team Empowerment
• Commercial Awareness
• Team Motivation
• Growth and Development

I shall examine each in turn below.

Beliefs and Commitment

Those that grow self-managing teams are almost ‘evangelical’ in their beliefs of the benefits of self-managing teams and their commitment to these beliefs. Why? The reason is that they have worked with the conventional ‘hands-on’ style of management and seen that it simply does not produce the best results. They have seen the blockages that this style of management creates for the organisation amongst which are:

- Managers operating too much in the day to day detail as ‘super technicians’.

- Insecure managers who won’t let go of control over everything their teams do.

- Managers failing to grow themselves into bigger thinkers who can make a difference to the business.

- Managers failing to engage all the talents of the organisation’s people to continuously improve results.

- Managers failing to grow their people to realise their potential and thus achieve the organisation’s potential.

- Managers standing in the way of change.

Realising the risks of conventional approaches to the management of people those that grow self-managed teams have become convinced that there must be a better way.

A way in which:

- The full potential of team members is released.

- Freedom to act replaces frustration with management control.

- Teams are equipped to make decisions and solve problems at their level to be more accountable, and visible for the achievement of results (with resultant increase in their job satisfaction and personal motivation).

- Personal growth and development is an everyday reality.

- Insecure managers obsessed with transactional leadership are replaced with transformational managers committed to step change.

- Managers are forced to grow out of their jobs to take on more responsibility giving room for others to move up.

Because of the difference they see in this way of working they will never go back. The personal rewards and the rewards of seeing others grow are too great. That is why their beliefs and commitment to self-managing teams is so strong.

Those strong in this area of growing self-managing teams have taken onboard these truths for themselves and their way of operating reflects these core beliefs.

Those weaker in this area are either unwilling to be persuaded or worse still are holding onto a paradigm of the role of management that will eventually end in heartache for them and their people.

Continuous Improvement

At the very heart of the thinking behind Self-Managing Teams is the concept of continuous improvement. This includes:

• Business Process Improvement

• Product/Service Improvement

• Customer Satisfaction Improvement

• Financial Improvement

• People Improvement

Those that grow self-managing teams see the connection between all five and seek to facilitate the efforts of their teams towards achievement of all five, simultaneously. They are therefore skilled holistic thinkers who understand the needs of the overall business and are able to align their team’s contribution to these needs.

They not only see the big, high level picture themselves they are able to communicate this to their team in a way which elevates their importance, and reinforces the message that what it does really can make a difference. They impart this big picture thinking to their teams so that their teams can clearly see the consequences of their actions on a day to day basis and the impact on the business as a whole.

Those that grow self-managing teams are likely to be familiar with Quality Management Practices, Lean Manufacturing Techniques, the use of Six Sigma, the key elements of Business Re-engineering and Program/Project Management.

They understand that, far from constricting people, well documented, properly followed processes release their people to work on the business to make both incremental and step changes.

Those strong in this area of growing self-managing teams have taken onboard the need for their teams to have the tools and techniques to deliver business process improvement.

Those weaker in this area will not have broken out of their narrow, silo approach to operating in their given area of specialist expertise. They will not be skilled in the area of continuous improvement, lacking both the knowledge and skills of continuous improvement themselves, and making it impossible for them to pass on these skills to their teams.

For these managers continuous improvement and process re-engineering will possibly be a huge knowledge gap to fill as well as a personal motivation issue to overcome.

Team Empowerment

Team empowerment is the real essence of self-managing teams. The whole concept of self-managing teams is that of allowing a group of people to decide on their objectives and plan how best to deliver a required result and even to exceed that required result. This requires a high degree of trust from the manager growing a self-managing team who really must embrace the key elements of people empowerment:

- Fully engaging team members in the challenges before it.

- Enabling team members to perform at the highest levels by removing blockages to their efforts.

- Encouraging team members, particularly in the face of setbacks.

- Enlarging team members’ capabilities and confidence with rigorous training/coaching

- Exciting and motivating team members in the empowerment process, particularly by recognising and celebrating successes.

- Facilitating the team’s activities and adding objective insights and suggestions.

The challenge for the aspiring leader of a self-managing team is to train and trust; to let go; to allow people to learn for themselves, to force people into self-sufficiency, and to facilitate their learning.

The parallel is that of a parent allowing his/her child to grow up knowing that the child will make mistakes, be bruised by events, and will take some hard knocks but in the end, with parental support and belief will succeed.

It is essential that in self-managing teams members are allowed to work largely independently of their manager but interdependently as a group. This subtle mix requires the manager of a self-managing team to constantly push the boundaries of the team’s empowerment, continuously taking the team out of its comfort zones and tirelessly working to ensure that the team is not dependent on him/her for their ongoing success.

Those that grow self-managing teams are committed to this facilitation/coaching/mentoring role resisting all the time, the temptation to get unnecessarily involved.

Those that have strengths in this element of growing self-managing teams will be comfortable with a high degree of empowerment and delegation and will easily adopt this facilitating/coaching role.

Those that are weaker in this area will feel that they need to be in control, micro-manage and not take the risks of empowerment. They may well struggle in this area of self-managing team leadership.

Commercial Awareness

In a sense those that grow self-managing teams are consultants to their teams. Great consultants not only have a defined area of expertise they also possess a wider knowledge of businesses, how they work, how they fail and/or succeed and most importantly how they make money. It is this commercial awareness and understanding that is so important when growing a self-managing team. Their team will need to know:

• How to calculate the costs of the processes they use, both direct and indirect costs.

• How to identify activities in the processes they use which add/do not add value.

• How to calculate the value add they provide.

• How to eliminate costs attributed to non added-value activities.

• How to work with internal teams from whom they receive work and to whom they deliver work to improve cross functional team working for margin improvement.

• How to use best practices associated with their type of work and industry norms.

• How to improve their financial success as measured internally by their organisation.

It is the job of the aspiring leader of self-managing teams to educate their teams in all of the above so that they can understand the commercial implications of their day to day operations. They must therefore possess the knowledge and skills to do this.

Those strong in this element of growing self-managing teams possess this knowledge and can pass it on.

Those who are weaker do not and need to fill this knowledge gap if they are to be effective leaders of self-managing teams.

Team Motivation

Aspiring leaders of self-managing teams really understand how to motivate team members. They possess a high level of soft skills which enables them to:

• Gauge the degree of stretch to give their team.

• Build some easy “wins” into new initiatives to boost morale.

• Play team members to their strengths.

• Provide frequent positive and reassuring feedback.

• Confront the brutal facts when problems arise.

• Use training and coaching to lift the team’s performance.

• Help the team learn from their achievements and setbacks.

• Influence on behalf of the team to effect needed changes outside of their immediate control.

• Compare the team’s results to best practitioners to incentivise higher performance.

• Celebrate successes and build recreation time into the team’s activities.

They encourage calculated risk taking, creative and innovative thinking and experimentation within the team. They allow freedom to make mistakes and to learn from them. They keep reminding their team of the necessity to push the boundaries of what is possible to achieve. They promote the idea of being catalysts for change which the whole business can learn from. They increase the team’s visibility within the overall organisation.

Those with strengths in this area of skill recognise the importance of team motivation and the key ingredients to it. They naturally and intuitively know how to build high performing teams.

Those who are weaker need to really focus on the above list of skills to acquire and develop them.

Growth and Development

Those that grow self-managing teams are fanatical about personal growth and development, their own, and that of their team members.

They understand that if they and their team members are not growing their knowledge, insights and skills they are not just standing still but going backwards. They recognise the need for people to both broaden their understanding of the wider external environment, their industry sector development, and how effective organisations succeed, they also see the need to deepen their own and others’ understanding of their own specialist area of expertise. They work on both, for themselves and their team members.

To support and encourage personal growth and development amongst their team members they:

• Accurately assess people’s performance.

• Understand their people’s satisfaction needs.

• Identify people’s unique talents and strengths.

• Hold regular personal development discussions with their team members.

• Use a variety of techniques and resources to grow and develop people’s talents.

They force themselves to grow by growing themselves out of their own jobs, equipping others to “step into their shoes”.

They see themselves as transformational leaders, challenging the status quo, and embracing thought leadership as a way to get people’s attention and to build personal credibility.

They love what they do and investing in their future is no hardship for them. They are generous with their time in helping others to achieve their aspirations. Their energy and enthusiasm is magnetic.

Those strong on this element of leading self-managing teams will naturally focus on their own and their team members’ personal growth and development. They free up their time to attend to this and create space for others to do the same.

Those weaker on this element possibly rely too much on the talents they and others already have and perhaps see growth and development initiatives as an “add-on” activity, nice to do but difficult to achieve. These people need to seriously revisit their mindset and attitude to increase their motivation to invest in this vitally important part of their role as a leader of a self-managing team

To assess your level of skill in growing a self managing team use our growing self managing team questionnaire.

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