Happy week to you and welcome to the Leader Reader for mid-September. This week brings you secrets to employee happiness (and unhappiness), tips for getting candid feedback from your team, a much-needed change in leadership style for great remote leaders, decision-making using a key DevOps metric, and a passionate plea to ditch the queues. Happy reading!

Work Happiness = Earned Success + Service to Others. Arthur C. Brooks (of the excellent Brooks Pandemic Exercise) writes on The Secret to Happiness at Work:

  • It’s people, values, and a sense of accomplishment.
  • It’s not “potential” or a fascinating domain of expertise.
  • Two things to focus on: earned success, and service to others.

Asking for Real Feedback: Go Informal, and Dig. HBR’s advice is Encourage your Employees to Give you Critical Feedback:

  • Here’s the key - do it informally.
  • You can keep the 360’s, but you need to add informal, candid, no-retribution feedback requests
  • You have to dig for the feedback. Simply creating safety isn’t enough.

Company Values Not Lining Up with your Practices? People Will Leave. You’ve heard it before - you have a “great culture”. So, HBR Asks: Why Are Great Employees Leaving Your Great Culture?:

  • Three elements make up culture: behaviors, systems, and practices.
  • These are all guided by an overarching set of values.
  • When these things don’t line up, great employees leave.
  • Aligning these is hard, messy work - and you need to do it, or risk losing your best people.

Great Remote-Work Leaders Work Very Differently. Forbes shows us that Great Work-From-Home Leaders Should Lead Differently, by:

  • Managing for results (rather than actions).
  • Recruit for alignment and autonomy.
  • Coach rather than problem-solve.
  • Consider ditching the usual video conferencing to find better solutions for your team.

Use Mean Time To Recover as a Key Decision-Making Metric. The Everyone Leader translates a key decision making question What’s The Worst Thing That Could Happen into DevOps metrics that you can measure, the key one is at the top:

  • Mean Time to Recover (MTTR) - how fast can we recover if there is an incident?
  • Deployment Frequency (DF).
  • Mean Time for Changes (MLT).
  • Change Failure Rate (CFR).

And finally -

Respect Their Time and Ditch the Queues. Seth Godin’s short but sweet Respecting Their Time questions these old queued practices and asks if we really need them in a networked, parallel-operating world (we don’t):

  • The “Round of intros” in a video call.
  • Reading PowerPoint slides to an audience.
  • Requiring conference-goers to stand in line to register.

Whew! Had enough for today? Thanks for sticking around for a round of the Leader Reader! Let’s get out there and put these into practice … and ditch the queues!