Successful Managers

Informational Interview Series

  1. What is Your Management Style?
  2. Successful Managers
  3. Special Advice for New Managers

In the informational interviews with managers, I asked them what does it take to be a successful manager and what specific functional or technical knowledge is critical to their positions?

Their points of view were diverse but connected to each other, I summarized them in 4 keys to demystify the secrets of successful managers:

  • Care about people and work: Managers without hearts won’t engage employees’ hearts for work. Some managers put more efforts on brain engagement by making sure the work is done on time and on budget and forget to empower and motivate their co-workers to deliver the best of them and to make sure that they are growing and are successful.
  • Able to learn: Basic knowledge about the position and the life experience are very important to a successful manager. The interviewees agreed that the knowledge can be acquired and the skills can be developed but the soft skills are difficult to change. In a government setting, the managers should follow rules, collective agreements, policies and guidelines. They need to have an overall knowledge and guide people without knowing all the details.
  •  Be like a parent:  The interviewees advised building strong relationships with employees and keep a positive attitude without taking things seriously because it is not an open heart surgery. Good managers should develop a “thick skin” and self-confidence to handle though situations. They also should act as parent and make tough decisions.
  • Have a vision: It is important for managers to have a vision and share it with their co-workers. The latter trust their supervisors and do the right things because they are more engaged in leading the journey towards the destination. After all, everybody should head the same destination and complete each other to make it happen.

Think about it: Manage projects and Lead People

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What is Your Management Style?

Informational Interview Series

  1. What is Your Management Style?
  2. Successful Managers
  3. Special Advice for New Managers

In my previous work experience, I interviewed five managers about their management styles and I asked them 6 questions. I started by asking them to describe in three words their management style.  Here what I came up with:

Having fun is a corporate culture; they organize potlucks, send cards for birthdays, departure or loss of the love one. Some teams get together outside work environment in restaurants, pubs just for pleasure. Some managers distribute cookies, Timbits and  chocolate to make the environment sweeter.

They all agree to support their team by helping them fulfilling their roles within the organization. One manager said that s/he encourages the team members at the personal level and throw them  in a deep-end to help them growing and feeling more comfortable in doing new things.

Moving With Scrum

On Friday at 6:30pm, I received a short notice from the rental office to move out, during the week-end, from my apartment for renovation. I was about to leave to attend a seminar in the west end of Ottawa. The next morning, I attended my weekly class at OCCSC (Ottawa Chinese Community Center Service) in the I.T bridging program. Stephanie Lachman-Doucet taught the class about Agile Scrum and I got the idea to chunk down the moving task to smalls tasks.

Moving With ScrumI wrote all tasks (Furniture, dishes, clothes, carpets, books…) on different yellow sticky-notes. I also wrote the headers of the table on green post-it notes (Unstarted, Started, Done and Reward).

When I start a task, I move the correspondent sticky-note from unstarted column to started column. I get excited when I move a post-it note to Done column because I reward myself by a nap or cup of coffee or walking, watching a movie…etc

This method helps eliminate stress and manage time. I will use it on my work office from now on.

I have to finish my other tasks, my break is over 🙂

Connecting the dots for meaningful information

To draw the picture we need to understand the environment/events/networks and to demystify the complexity of the information we have collected. Our picture will stand out and will present new landscapes that we may need to explore. Dots are somehow connected and perception of the picture depend on the angle of sight which varies with the distance.
The picture may be differently perceived according to the closeness and how things are related to each other. There are different perceptions/views; if we consider them and we think out of the box, we will get the whole picture.

The angle of Sight varies with the distance

Dots are somehow connected and if we can not make connection, we may consider to change the angle of our sight.

Our world today is about connecting the digital dots. The challenge is in dealing with the complexity—the dots are multidimensional, of varying sizes and colors, continuously changing, and linked to others, as yet unimagined dots. Nonetheless, to successfully connect the dots at any level in cyberspace means we must be literate, both digitally and visually. Educause

Don’t reject a positive troll

According to Wikipedia:

a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

We had started a discussion (1) (2) in Jaap’s blog about (un)happy people in a network. In which I underlined the fact that all trolls are not negative and destructive. A positive troll sends some signals (new approach, new way of doing things, “strange” plan …) that may annoy the whole network. If one troll didn’t agree with the whole group and the group “quarantines” him/her… it is safer to change the land, start a new “network life” and build whatever s/he believes in. Sometimes the group may act as the body when he rejects the pacemaker device implanted to save person’s life! Even the pacemaker is necessary, the intelligence of the body is that the immune system rejects all strange things in it.
We don’t want to live in a “Seagull community” and being banned as Jonathan Livingston who was rejected from his community because he wanted to explore, to know, to learn something new Jonathan Livingston Seagull is a book written By Richard Bach:

I don’t mind being bone and feathers, mom. I just want to know what I can do in the air and what I can’t, that’s all. I just want to know.

The question here is how to classify trolls as negative or positive?

In my humble opinion, I think positive trolls come with solutions, propositions, ideas and negative ones find path-holes, stuck and send negative thoughts for the sake of annoying others. John Lennon stated: “There are no problems, only solutions” that means if we focus on the stimulus itself without catching the right message, we may quarantine and reject positive trolls and offend them. Sometimes, it is also a lack of communication, someone may express something that it is received and perceived as negative and annoying.

Don’t reject trolls specially if we know that they are successful people in their field, they see things differently and they express them differently because we speak different languages and we have different backgrounds … Be careful, lack of communication destroy all bridges and make networks as weak as spider’s web.

My Experience With Learning A New Language

“Each tongue is a man” (Arabic proverb)

I love traveling and I have pleasure meeting new people and exploring new landscapes and enhancing my communication skills. There are two major skills to learn a new language: 1- Active Skills and 2- Passive Skills. I think passive skills are much easier to develop than active ones, I don’t know why? May be because of their passivity but they are useful to develop active skills. To develop the active skills, learners should put more effort and engage in their learning process.

Let’s get started:

** PASSIVE SKILLS

  • Listening
  • Being digital learner is the key. I listen to audio-books on CDs on my computer or my mp3 player while exercising and cooking. I used to use playaway gadgets. I download useful podcasts from iTunes store about topics I am interested in.

    To use iTunes store, download iTunes software for free. Watch this video tutorial to get familiar with the software and learn how to subscribe to podcasts. On search field type ESL (English as Second Language) or Learn English, or Apprendre Français or Imparare Italiano or whatever your new language is and subscribe to feeds.

    Another option is to listen to your favorite podcasts using a desktop or a web-based application Reader. I use Google Reader to subscribe to RSS podcasts feeds. To know more about Google Reader and how to use it, follow this link. I used to watch subtitled videos and movies to get familiar with different accents and to improve my pronunciation. One of my favorite website is TED talks.

  • Reading
  • Being book lover is the key. I enjoy reading books. I used to read ESL books that enhanced my vocabulary. Remember that it took us long years to learn our mother language. Don’t hurry, chill out and enjoy your learning journey.
    You may consider twitter as your learning platform, people share a lot of resources on twitter by using hashtags (#). To learn more about hashtags, watch this video tutorial. In the search field, type #ESL (English as a Second Language), or #EFL (English as a Foreign Language) or #French or #Language and in each tweet, you may find other hashtags that take you to other resources.

** ACTIVE SKILLS

  • Speaking
  • Being socially present is the key. Belonging to groups and being socially present is my way of getting more envolved in the community and develop my active skills. I joined English Corner and Public English Discussion. I joined Women’s Friendship Circle and Newcomers Group Greater Moncton & Surroundings. I volunteer with many organizations and I enriched my network with new connections. Don’t be shy, go and meet native speakers… people are nice!
    I went for a linguistic trip in Halifax, NS for English Immersion program at Dalhousie University. It was very interesting learning experience because I was exploring a new place and meeting new people.

  • Writing
  • Being connected is the key. I use social media and I am “Connektd to Explore”, it’s why I created this blog and of course my friends are from different countries and they speak different languages which help me in improving my new language. I love writing and I am working on developing my writing skills to unveil the knowledge.

** YOU ACCENT IS YOUR IDENTITY
I quoted from Successful English blog:

The second thing language does is identify you as a member of a social group. Your language may identify what part of the country you come from – people from Boston sound much different than people from Dallas. It may identify your profession or level of education – people with more education often use different vocabulary than people with less education. It may identify what country you came from – Mexican-Americans sound different than Asian-Americans. Accent is part of your identification, but again, only a part. Vocabulary and other language elements also help identify the group you belong to.

Everybody has an accent, for instance Acadian French accent is different from Quebecer’s accent which is also different from French accent in France. English native speakers have different accents too. British accent is different from American Accent. I certainly have an accent When I speak English which is fine because it reflects my ability to speak other languages. After all, is to get understood and to “communicate” with people. The most important is who you are. Have a look at this funny video, just live your learning journey with a lot of fun and please don’t give up… Good luck!

The most important is: Who you are?

Our roots run deeply but is everybody able to present a timeline of his/her ancestors?

I attended a ceremony of the black community history in New Brunswick on Feb 2nd. It was hosted by The Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area (Magma) at a beautiful art gallery La Teraz in Moncton, NB. This ceremony was very inspiring and the speakers presented us a timeline of the black community in NB since 1800 or so.

The most important, as says one of the speakers, is who you are and how you can contribute to your community. My contribution to the discussion was about immigration and roots and how can we go deeply to find our roots. We are all immigrants if we can go deeply to our roots. Moreover, if we consider our diversity as a wealth, we can learn from each other and make strong connections with different people regardless our religion, our skin color or our roots. This earth is so diverse and her beauty is in her diverseness. I quoted from the General Governor of Canada, Michaelle Jean, when she received her Honorable Doctorate at the Université de Moncton in 2009: “Everybody can have a place in Canada“.

Joel Kimmel said is the video bellow about Ontology: “The quality of life is determined on no so much you’re doing but who you’re being and why you are doing it that has the impact on your life…”

Margaret Young stated: ‎”Often people live their lives backwards: they try to have more things, or more money in order to do more of what they want so they will be happier. The way it works is actually the reverse. You must first “be who you really are” then do what you really need to do, in order to have what you want”. In this inspiring video from TED talks, the speaker emphasized that there is so many things to be happy about. We do have many highs in our life but between them there are some bumps and lumps and after-all, we do have only 100 years in this life to enjoy our achievements.