Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mentoring experiences

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An important part of my role is working with people in day-to-day interactions, but also to help them grow on the long term.

It's always motivating to see how people can change and evolve in the right direction when the right feedback is provided - when the dialogue is open, when the sender is open and honest in the comments and observations, and when the receiver is also interested in what others have to say.

It's not that when somebody tells you did something wrong, that you have to immediately agree with them - I'm the first to be against. Still, when two or more people tell you that you are drunk, you definitely go to bed.

I've had one guy who was always gloomy, never satisfied by anything, and always expressing his concerns and reasons to be upset with loud voice. After two years of working together, although he did not become the most positive person, he learned how to listen to others, how to contain his anger, and how to express his ideas in a way that favors listening and understanding. Moreover, he managed to be seen as a valuable contributor to the team he was part of, and - although keeping his "grumpy" title - to be listened to.

Now I'm on for a new challenge: a really strong technical person, but with whom people don't like to talk, and whose advices are not sought after - because he is too hursh, too direct, sometimes even arrogant and mean to the poor guy that doesn't know a thing.

Did you have this kind of people in your team? How did you manage them? What worked best?