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The Week In Pieces #7: Praising without patronising

Hello there.
I’m beginning the week by reflecting on the lessons I learned in the last one. How to give praise in a non-hierarchical team, and how to manage without enough sleep.
A member of one of our development teams has made some recent strides in how they work: Anticipating need in colleagues and customers; influencing across the organisation and constructively asserting their own needs - skills that many of us never develop across our whole careers. Despite the obvious value I always find delivering effective praise challenging. Our team is non-hierarchical so I don’t want to be patronising, or the arbiter of what is good or bad. Equally, I’m personally invested in the success of the team and the individuals in it.
I managed to address this in the moment by talking about my personal sense of pride - not only in the individual, but in their work and the opportunity they’ve given me to be associated with it. This approach walked the tightrope between expressing my personal feelings and not making the conversation all about me. It worked well in this situation, and I look forward to experimenting with it in the future.
Another leap forward I made was in working out how to manage at work when (for whatever reason) you haven’t had enough sleep. And my conclusion was: you can’t. It’s not possible to function at the usual level if your brain and body haven’t had enough recovery time, so the only option is to adjust your expectation of yourself - prioritise ruthlessly, communicate to those who will be affected, and ask for support where necessary. I’m pretty lucky I work in an environment where I’m able to do this.
With that in mind, a collection of articles around good teams and good sleep - how teams are more than the sum of their parts; what complexity science can teach us about how teams work; why we need to sleep in the first place; and how our sleep cycles help us solve problems.

Building Great Teams
What complexity science says about what makes a winning team | Aeon Essays
A quantitative theory unlocks the mysteries of why we sleep | Aeon Essays
A New Theory Linking Sleep and Creativity - The Atlantic
That’s it! Give thanks, sleep well and I’ll see you next week.
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Piers Campbell

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