Monday, November 10, 2014

Danger signals for the Scrum Master

Stress is not sexy.
There is nothing glamorous or exciting about being exhausted.  This week on the blog I wanted to talk about some things you need to pay attention too when they come up.

You want to throw things at the office: We toss paper into the waste paper basket.  But what I am talking about is much more serious and frightening.  I was on a conference call after less than six hours of sleep during 72 hours of production issues.  I picked up my mouse and wanted to throw it into my monitor.  I did the next best thing which was walk away from my desk.

You want to spend your time insulting others rather than helping them: Lack of sleep and the pressure of the job can transform a saint into a green hulking rage monster.  If you find yourself wanting to insult your staff or belittle them you need a break.  Your direct reports should not have to suffer because you are too tired to think straight.

You let things go you normally would not allow:  When someone says, “I don’t care” it usually means that they do not have the energy to pay attention to the details.  That is a recipe for failure and a bigger accident to follow.

Your staff starts asking you if you are ok:  Being a manager means warring a “mask of command.”  If you drop that mask and your staff starts seriously wondering if you are up to the job; you may need to take a step back.

You are not sleeping: If you can’t lay down and get some sleep at the end of the day.  This is a serious danger sign.  You need to finish up what you are working on and try to uncoil because not sleeping can create situations similar to being intoxicated.

You can’t focus: Leadership and technology require concentration.  If you can’t concentrate you are sunk.  Taking time off to step away from the project or just the office is going to do you a great deal of good.

Each of these things happened to me this week and I knew the danger signs.  I told my boss and he was good enough to let me work from home.  It was very positive and helped me get through a very rough period.  It also protected my staff.  Life is too short to work for bosses who are struggling to keep it together.  

Until next time.