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Presentation from Managing Design 2017, UX Australia, Melbourne 12 May 2017


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This is a presentation about how we need to manage people realising that we need to manage behaviours, while thinking of the whole person.

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Presentation from Managing Design 2017, UX Australia, Melbourne 12 May 2017

  1. 1. Managing Rockstars, Prima Donnas and Mother Teresas Managing Design, Melbourne 12 May 2017
  2. 2. A STORY
  3. 3. Rockstars
  4. 4. Challenges ■ They can be very dismissive of the team implementing their ideas or vision, which causes friction in the team ■ As they have expended so much energy in the first phase of the project, they need to handover the project, so they can recuperate. ■ Underneath all the intellectual power can be someone who needs to be validated.
  5. 5. Ways to work ■ Get the Rockstar to develop relationships with the team, so they are not dismissed as not seeing the vision when they can’t keep up. ■ Give them the freedom and intellectual stimulation - they are the innovators in complex projects - ideal could be Project initiation, R&D or Innovation and Disruption ■ Pair them with someone who can take the idea to delivery.
  6. 6. Rockstar engagement
  7. 7. Prima donnas
  8. 8. Challenges ■ They don’t have the experience or talent to back up ALL of their ideas; they usually have strength in one particular area needed in the project ■ They build strife into their interactions with everyone. The team comes away feeling pelted with ego ■ The work may not be up to scratch; there can be an overestimation of competence
  9. 9. Ways to work ■ Remember that a Prima Donna may be starting with a position of low self esteem, and is compensating to feel superior ■ Provide strong expectations for each piece of work and stretch goals once they have been met; use their strengths for the good of the project ■ Ignore their behaviours if it doesn’t affect the rest of the team ■ If it does affect the team, the person needs to be talked to and warned of the consequences of their behaviour ■ Remind the individual who the customer is; their role is supporting the customer (internal or external) ■ Work in a team made up of people with healthy egos and great skills to balance the Prima Donna
  10. 10. Prima Donna engagement
  11. 11. Mother Teresas
  12. 12. Challenges ■ Lack of compassion for themselves ■ Over sharing and annoying others ■ Taking on too much work and burning out
  13. 13. Ways to work ■ Set boundaries for them at work with the amount of time they work on something ■ Find structured ways for them to give of themselves to others in the group ■ Teach them to be a little selfish with their time and knowledge ■ Leave them to fail (only a little), so they can learn to set their own boundaries
  14. 14. Mother Teresa engagement
  15. 15. Think about the individual
  16. 16. Working with a challenging individual ■ Understand the motivations of the person in front of you ■ Rules of Engagement ■ Goals and boundaries ■ Team planning and dependencies ■ Be an active manager ■ Work with your manager/coach/mentor on how the team or individual is led and managed
  17. 17. Understand their motivations Empathy, good questioning technique and listening ■ What’s happening to the person right now? ■ How does this affect work? ■ What do they want to do? ■ Why is this happening?
  18. 18. Rules of Engagement A collaborative team activity, but can be developed with an individual Includes: ■ How we work together ■ Work styles ■ Escalation ■ Conflict resolution, and ■ Who is the ultimate decision maker
  19. 19. Goals and boundaries Works with the Rules of Engagement For each piece of work, set the expectations: ■ What the person is responsible for ■ What deliverables they need to create and when they are due ■ Support needed to do the work ■ Any dependencies ■ What don’t they do In the project team include: ■ Are they responsible for others work ■ How will they work with other
  20. 20. Team planning and dependencies ■ Provides a structure for the team when working with challenging people ■ When it’s done negatively, it is a ‘group slap’; but positively - it provides the whole group with a set of expectations, so the one person does not feel singled out ■ If the challenging person is an equivalent or higher in the pecking order, this provides them with expectations of their front of everyone
  21. 21. Be an active manager Manager… a dirty word, we are all told we should all be leaders BUT... ■ Be someone who the team can talk to ■ Be an escalation point ■ Model behaviour ■ Shape how a team works
  22. 22. Work with your manager or mentor ■ Don’t pretend you can do this by yourself. ■ Dealing with difficult team members is hard - exhausting mentally, physically and emotionally. Get support and downtime as needed. ■ Support can come in two guises: ● Peer group support - coaching through the problems with your ‘pack’ ● Manager/mentor - to provide guidance and your point of escalation
  23. 23. Summing up ■ Rockstars, Prima Donnas and Mother Teresas are all archetypes; these traits and behaviours can turn up in all of us at different times. ■ The aim is to get the best out to people and being active managers is the best way to do this. ■ Go forth and manage!
  24. 24. Resources Change, Influence and IA at the BBC, March 2004 Beyond the Polar Bear, 2011
  25. 25. Thank you Contact me: Email: Twitter: @magshanley Linkedin