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The Secret to being a fine team player

I’ve managed enough projects to say that even that even with all the technology and process available anywhere

don’t care if you’re talking going to Mars

the hardest part about managing projects = the people factor.

I’ve been managing other people’s workload and output enough to have a lot to say directly about what’s observed in others

First rule is that trust is critically important in a workpace — as a priority, “Being trustable” is just under “Deserving to be trusted”. I think those are the top 2.

We’ve all met people in charge who think they need to scowl — as in actively doing more than RBF, and I think that’s completely unnecessary and even disadvantageous. It says “I’ve adapted to working with bozos who need open obvious stimuli to compel active fear to make them responsible.” And I want to say fuck that vibe. Like most, I want to relate and connect and say “hell yeah” and “great” and “thanks” at the end of the day. And trust enables that.

But reality is, some people also just don’t warrant trust.

Some people aren’t super duper intelligent. This is more than ok. I think expecting folks to be savvy is expecting a lot out of the universe itself — and again, I don’t think it’s the woist if someone doesn’t seem to be the brightest lightbulb in the factory. I think it’s great to leave the door open to have someone work for and with you who is much smarter than you at the work load — and this means having “smarter-than” offs is one of the dumbest things someone can do. The key is to be able to focus on output, more than outputter.

Some people also won’t seem super duper hard working. This is of course also more than ok. Most jobs and occupations are weird if you think about it, and it’s impossible to gauge someone’s motivation in all things. (I’ve met people who think they can — and they’re all kind of arrogant dicks.) Plus, some people work smart and not hard and still get great results cause they’re that bright and in the right environment for it. The same folks can also burn-out and suck more than the diligent person who was less bright….in the end it’s a risk that means always squeezing the most juice that you can out of people is a lousy idea.

In the end, everyone’s equilibrium between smart and hard work is as simple as calories in vs calories out for energy balance. Output very good = Person very good. For anyone reporting up or down, the idea is to be some combination of smart and hard working and contribute. That’s being a team player. Combine that with conscientiousness and you’re bound to be a really fine one.

My approach is generally to try and see people’s assets and what needs to happen and optimize. It usually works really well, and usually there are even good memories and lols along the way.

But sometimes, you have someone who is just the obstacle. I said that trust is most important, but when you see sign and sign again that someone doesn’t deserve it, this can make someone who wants to be nice go nuts. And I think this is one reason new yorkers do a lot of great business … there’s a great culture of “wait a minute this doesn’t look right and I’m about to go nuts so what’s going on” here.

And there’s always going to be the example of that employee who either can’t see the big picture, or doesn’t care. Or that person who doesn’t do things unless told (compared to the guy who will ask if they should) and then provides a squirt of work. It’s like they miss the point that it’s easier to do that squirt of work oneself. Or just not recognize that their work is lousy.

Of course some people ought to ask themselves really, why they have a job. And if the response is rooted in disrespect for who they work for and with….well maybe they person should do better things with their life. Let’s chalk this up to nothing recent, but recent processing that’s hitting me with a ha. I can now say that I’ve experienced simultaneously not wanting to say “this is not good enough” and knowing I have to — think that’s called a hard choice where the right answer is still clear.

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