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What surprised me the most from the simulation.

I’ll keep this brief.  The most surprising part of last week’s leadership training simulation was when someone asked me: Are you really a clueless manager, or are you playing a role?

My dirty-little-secret?  I wish I could say it was all an act, but it wasn’t.  

That night in the hotel I reflected on the question.  I realized that I was under a lot of stress during the simulation, performing the role of manager and simulation leader.  Time was short, my adrenaline was high, and I didn’t want to look like an idiot in front of these folks.

In short, under stress, I struggled to be a good manager in the simulation.

Yes, part of the simulation was to place participants in the worker role and give them unchangeable constraints.  Without that the simulation wouldn’t work.
But I also learned something about myself: that stress significantly impacts my behavior.

Next time I’ll practice more beforehand.  I won’t be perfect, but I will have more tools to draw on during the simulation.

And you need to practice being a good leader in low-pressure situations.  If you practice when it’s not stressful, you’ll perform better under stress.

Ways you might practice

1. Offer feedback during a one-on-one meeting about something small
2. Ask for minor feedback from your team, and practice receiving it well
3. Offer your boss/peer candid feedback about something small
4. Ask a minor personal question to a team member to connect with them a bit better

Small steps, practiced in low-stress situations seems to be a key for me.  When the pressure’s on, it’s easy to lose my head.

Have you found the same thing?

About Marcus Blankenship

Where other technical coaches focus on process or tools, I focus on the human aspects of your Programmer to Manager transition. I help you hire the right people, create the right culture, and setup the right process which achieves your goals. Managing your team isn't something you learned in college. In fact, my clients often tell me "I never prepared for this role, I always focused on doing the work". If you're ready to improve your leadership, process and team, find out how I can help you.

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