|Talking about forgiveness.|
My professional career has was shaped by my training in journalism and engineering. The world of mass communications is very judgmental. We criticize television anchors for hair color choices and how good their dentition looks on camera. Radio disc jockeys are slaves to ratings and program managers who can crush your career. Ratings mean money and if you provide ratings, people will ignore some of your worse personal faults.
Engineers are also a judgmental bunch and are willing to back up that judgment with the scientific method. The code could run a few nanoseconds faster. The class could better use the Liskov Substitution principle. Finally, you could always tighten up the code to make it less error prone. There is additional machismo where team members compete to assert dominance using their intelligence or programming skill. It is brutal, and these environments discourage vulnerability and innovation.
As a scrum master, you are encouraged to help remove these dysfunctional behaviors. Sometimes a scrum master gets caught up in these bad practices. When you do, you are going to hurt the team. When you hurt the team, you are undermining your credibility in the organization, and with the people, you are supposed to serve. The first thing you should do when you hurt your team or someone on it is making amends and apologize. Asking for forgiveness is hard, but it reinforces the agile values of respect and openness. A team which can forgive each other when they make mistakes is going to be higher performing than one which is not.
Forgiving yourself is a much harder skill. We know ourselves better than anyone else. We are also the least forgiving of our mistakes. We can feel like frauds to ourselves, and this is imposter syndrome. Our emotional intelligence may be below average, and we find ourselves in situations which would puzzle others. Finally, emotional control can be undermined by people who just do not want to improve. You become a tangled bundle of rubber bands, and you feel like you can snap at any minute. You do snap you feel riddled with guilt and self-loathing. Over my career, I have spent a few mornings thoroughly hating the person I see in the mirror. These feelings are not rational or objective. These feelings just are, and you cannot escape them.
I have been leaning on friends and family for the last few weeks to receive relief. I am seeing a doctor in order understand if the stress of the role is contributing to my emotional recriminations. Finally, I have been avoiding alcohol and caffeine. My brain chemistry is bad enough, and I don’t need to make it worse with outside stimulants and depressants. I am making a conscious effort to try and forgive myself for past mistakes.
From the outside, this process is not going to look beautiful, but I need to do it if I am going to improve as a scrum master. Everyone deserves a dose of forgiveness now and then.
Until next time.