Tuesday 8 January 2013

Whoops. I got it wrong again.

Reflective post is reflective. I'd class as self indulgent but that's just me. It feels awkward, I've not done this before.

So. My old team. Me, bod same job title as me, boss with same job title as me but Manager tacked on the end of it. Above him, our Head of Service. I think it's fair to say that when I arrived on the team, morale was er... wobbling. Main aims of the team seemed to be to leave meetings with no actions. It was the standing joke but I knew well enough that if I went to meetings and committed to providing work, I would be the person providing the work.

I am appallingly bad at saying no.

This led to the predictable situation. Not helped, really, by the fact that the other two team members saw social media as nothing special, nothing that needed time devoted to it, and something that had had its box ticked. The rest of the organisation weren't quite on the same page with this and so most of the work fell to me. I did my best, mostly on my own. To be fair, a new CMS procurement and roll out was also taking up much of the rest of the teams time.

This meant that a lot of the time it felt like I was a team of one. It was hard at times and in an effort to make it easier, I became very independent and forgot some rather useful skills. Like er... talking to people about my work. Or rather, talking about my work in terms that allowed others to help with it. Instead of chatting about it in social terms, over coffee in a kind of 'yeah I'm fine, I could do with a bit of help but everything's fine' kind of way.

I wasn't fine. I was having at least 3 meetings every single day for what felt like weeks after the launch of the social media guidelines for government. I'd go home barely able to hold a conversation. And I thought this was normal. I thought I had exactly the same workload as everyone else and I thought I was being pathetic.

I wasn't. But I was being exceptionally stupid.

Teamwork means visibility. It means knowing what everyone else is working on so you can help. It means knowing someone didn't know you could have multiple accounts in Tweetdeck and sorting it out for someone. It means sharing a problem and getting four heads, rather than your own. It surfaces issues quickly when it comes to overload but also when someone is drowning and becoming more and more miserable about workload.

Unfortunately, for those things to happen, you have to communicate. And bunkering down just doesn't work. It cuts you off. It deprives you of others subjective viewpoints and all the good things that come from that.

Like the suggestion that instead of those 15 meetings a week, that perhaps it might have been more productive to run workshops at beginner, intermediate and advanced level, invite all the people who wanted to have meetings and then take individual Q & A's at the end so everyone could benefit from the learning.

All of which would have prevented repetition, been more time efficient and done wonders for my sanity. I don't know about you but there is only so many times I can painstakingly explain that manning Twitter for 5 minutes every day at 9am might mean you miss out on some lovely conversational type stuff. You may laugh, sat there in your smugness. Now stop laughing and have a good long hard think about exactly how obvious it is you can't just do that when you've never seen Twitter before.


So. This is my learning and it's taken longer than I'm entirely comfortable with. Without your team, you're nothing. Without input from others, you're nothing. And can I just say, how much I am enjoying working on a small project with a small team with boundless enthusiasm? Can I? Thank you. I'm really rather proper enjoying work at the moment, and hopefully I can tell you a bit more about the lovely small project soon.

Hard won lesson, that one.

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