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How Do You Know When You Are Doing a Good Job?

metaprograms people Jul 22, 2022
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It’s training season! During July and August, I deliver training back to back, intensive, long days, and with just one day off a week for me and my delegates, so for this week’s Insight, I thought about what I could take away from the training that fits in well with Tech Leaders at work, and I thought about the questions I had received so far.


Many of my delegates want to know whether they are doing a good job during the exercises, and then I thought back to my days when I led Tech Teams and how often I would get asked whether something was ok.


So, the question this week is:

How do you know when you are doing a good job?


 You may have seen my other Insights that talk about how your mind is programmed (e.g., literal/inferential communication styles, the number of times it takes for you to be convinced about someone or something). 


This question is also one of those programmes that run in your mind, determining how you behave.


Knowing how your mind, and those of your Tech Team, are programmed is really advantageous so that you can be managed and manage your Tech Team in a way that works best for the individual.



What’s The Difference?


Internal Frame of Reference:

They know things are OK within themselves and do not need the opinion of others.


When you ask an Internally Referencing person the question, they just know that they have done a good job; they could say something like “I can tell”, “I feel it”, or “I decide that I have done it well”.  They have an internal standard that they assess themself by.


They will not actively seek feedback from others and may choose to disregard any feedback given to them because it doesn’t match their internal reference. They may even consider instructions from the Tech Leader to be simply information, and they will do with it as they choose.


People with an internal reference filter may rely on their own judgment when it is inappropriate to do so.



External reference: 

Others have an ‘external‘ frame of reference - consistently rely on others for feedback. 


Externally referencing people need, and want, plenty of feedback. They have to be told that they are doing a good job by their managers, HR, customers, and others. 


External referencers are lost when forced to fall back on their own resources. They may also take what is intended as information about a task as an instruction, which may not be what is required.



And In Between:

And then, there is a mix of ‘in betweens’, where they are balanced, internally referencing with an external check, or external with an internal check, e.g., they know they are doing a good job when they hit their KPIs.




How does this impact the Tech Team?


Internally Referencing Tech Leader with Externally Referencing Tech Team:


The Tech Leader Perspective:

Internally referencing Tech Leaders can be confused when Tech Team members constantly check in to see whether they have done a good enough job.


The Tech Leader can become frustrated with people asking for approval all the time.


The Tech Team Member Perspective:

Suppose an Externally Referencing Tech Team Member does not get enough feedback that they have done a good job. In that case, they may think that the Internally Referencing Tech Leader is a crap boss or that the Tech Leader doesn’t care about them as the Tech Leader is not giving them the feedback they crave.


They will become nervous or anxious when their annual review comes around as they will not know how they have been performing.


If you have a strongly externally referencing Tech Team Member, then make sure you frequently give them plenty of feedback and a pat on the back. 



Externally Referencing Tech Leader and Internally Verifying Tech Team Members:


 The Tech Leader Perspective:

Now, if the Tech Leader is an external verifier, they would be confused as to why their Tech Team Members were not checking in all the time to ensure their work was done correctly, which would result in the Tech Leader bugging the Tech Team Members to check-in. 


The Tech Team Member Perspective:

If the Tech Leader were to constantly hound their Tech Team Members to check in, then the internally verifying Tech Team Members to think they were being micromanaged.


Use language patterns to manage an internally referencing Tech Team Member, such as: “as you know” before telling them something they don’t know; or give them facts to guide them to a particular decision and say “only you can decide”.



Does this ever change?

It is always worth checking this out regularly with your Tech Team. Over time, people usually become more internally referencing within the role, as they build up information and learn from experiences to base a decision on. 



But No-one Ever Says Thank You!

One thing to note about working in the Tech Sector…. People rarely say thank you. If you have an externally verifying Tech Team Member, they may remark how little their end users or customers say “thank you” or tell them they have done well. Always take the opportunity to remind them that any time the customer does not complain, they can take it as a job well done!



Particularly useful to know if you have young kids!

If you have young kids, note that they are likely to be external verifiers and will constantly want to check that they have got it right because they want to please you. They are not doing it to annoy you, so if you have an external verifying child, give them that pat on the back occasionally.






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