Agile Notes (No. 31)
We are back at it this week with our re-read of the EXCELLENT Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins. This week Chapter 3: Master Yourself. Next, I think I am going to read Jean Tabaka’s Collaboration Explained. Anybody interested in a book club?
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Every day, I read an entry from Ryan Holiday’s The Daily Stoic. I also try to read from books on either Stoicism or Buddhism. I try to ground myself before I start my day. I just so happen to be reading Holiday’s latest, Discipline is Destiny. In the excerpt above, Holiday is talking about Marcus Aurelius and it applies perfectly to this week’s Adkins chapter.
She starts the chapter off stating that she is a “recovering command-and-control-aholic.” I understand that sentiment. I’ve been there and I must remain ever-vigilant against falling back on those tendencies. Continuous improvement is a core Agile value. Kaizen. Because if we aren’t trying to get better we start devolving back into our old habits and patterns.
Adkins provides a helpful framework for knowing yourself and identifying areas for self-improvement in an Agile context. She refers to it as finding your “growing edge”:
How you react to conflict
The words you choose in everyday conversation
Your position on being a servant leader
Your comfort with emotional intelligence
She provides great resources across all four of those dimensions. She refers to Marshall Rosenberg’s incredible Non-Violent Communication. This book needs to be one of your go-to resources. There is great information on how to understand your conflict style and your EQ - your level of emotional intelligence. EQ and “servant leader” are two concepts that get thrown around a lot. However! Understanding how you listen and communicate are THE critical areas of development needed to recover from command-and-control-aholicism and grow into someone that can put their focus into helping the team grow.
Working to improve yourself will allow you to hold space for the members of the team. Adkins references is Corrigan’s The Tao of Holding Space. Another excellent resource. Adkins quotes it:
You cannot hold space if you are already full. Holding space requires all of your capacity, offered fully and with certainty. Your concerns don’t matter to the group, so your preparation is directed at shedding them.
If you are full of your own non-sense, your own b.s., your own me, me, me nature you cannot grow. There is no room. If you can empty some of that junk out, work to hold that space open. Let the light come in. The group’s light.
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