I once had an acquaintance from an ad agency remark to me, “It must be wonderful to work in software development where people never have occasion to get mad at each other.” —TDM
From the outside, the software industry must seem like a haven from emotional display; from the inside, it looks entirely different. Emotions are often high, and there is a lot of passion over matters that, except to insiders, wouldn’t seem to justify any passion at all. In this respect, software is similar to many other kinds of knowledge work.
Most knowledge work is a relatively new phenomenon in companies that were once almost totally industrial. Think of AT&T, for example: A few decades ago, most of its workers were low-skilled and wore blue collars; today, it is all knowledge work. With such antecedents, it’s easy to understand why many knowledge-work companies early adopted an unwritten rule that display of emotion would not be allowed in the workplace. This rule has been routinely violated, but it still persists. Someone who cries in a meeting or bursts out angrily, upon learning of an unwelcome decision, is written off as unprofessional. Such people are often thought too volatile for promotion. the net effect is to make passion and promotion mutually exclusive, hardly a recipe for success.
In deciding whether or not to tolerate unruly emotions, it’s worth remembering that feelings intrude on work only to the extent that people care about their work. the easy way to make the feelings go away is to hire people who don’t give a damn.
Staffing a project with people who care passionately about what they’re doing is a recipe for success. their passion may boil over from time to time, but mopping it up is just part of the price you need to pay to achieve ambitious goals.
Business Analysis Conference Europe. Details and registration a Details and registration at Business Analysis Conference Europe 2015.
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