Sunday, June 15, 2014

Emotional Maturity and Free / Open Source communities

12 Signs of emotional maturity has an excellent list of the characteristics we look for in FOSS team members -- and traits I want to strengthen in my Self.

1. Flexibility - So necessary. The only constant is change, so survival dictates flexibility.

 2. Responsibility - Carthage Buckley, the author of 12 Signs of emotional maturity says:
You take responsibility for your own life. You understand that your current circumstances are a result of the decisions you have taken up to now. When something goes wrong, you do not rush to blame others. You identify what you can do differently the next time and develop a plan to implement these changes.
The world is a mirror. Sometimes when things go wrong, I mistake what I see as caused by some malevolent force, or even someone being stupid. The human brain is designed to keep us from recognizing our own errors and mistakes, unfortunately. So I need to remember to take responsibility, and seek out evidence of personal shortcomings, in order to improve.

I want my team members to do the same! When someone has caused a mess, I want them to take responsibility, and clean up. I want to learn to more often do the same.

 3. Vision trumps knowledge - If I have a dream and desire, I can get the knowledge I need. Whereas a body of knowledge, by itself, doesn't make anything happen.

Good marketing sells the sizzle, not the steak. In other words, make people hungry, and they will buy your steak. Tell them how great it is, and they'll go somewhere they can smell steak! When working in my team, I need to remember this.

4. Personal growth - A priority every day. Who wants to be around stagnant people?

5. Seek alternative views - This one is so difficult, and so important. The hugely expanded media choices available to people now leads to many of us never interacting with people who disagree with us, or have a different perspective. This leads to groupthink, and even disaster. One way to prevent this in teams is to value diversity, and recruit with diversity as a goal. 

 6. Non-judgmental - Another hard one. Those who seek out alternative views, will more easily recognize how different we all can be, while all being of worth. And when we focus on shared goals rather than positions, we can continue to make shared progress towards those goals.

 7. Resilience - Stuff happens. When it does, we all can learn to pick up, dust off, and get going again. This doesn't mean denying that stuff happens; rather it means accepting that and continuing on anyway.

8. A calm demeanor - I think this results from resilience. Freaking out just wastes time and energy, and gets me further off-balance. Better to breathe a bit, and continue on my way.

 9. Realistic optimism - I love this word pair. Seeing that a glass is half-full, rather than half-empty is a habit, and habits can be created. Bad habits can be changed. Buckley says that success requires effort and patience. Your goals are worth effort and patience, creativity, and perseverance.

10. Approachable - Again, a choice. If I'm open to others, they will feel free to offer their help, encouragement or even warnings. If seeking alternative views is a value, then being approachable is one way to get those views.

11. Self-belief - I think this can be carried too far, but if we've looked for alternative views and perspectives, and created a plan with those views in mind, then criticism will not stop progress. When our goals are deeply desired, we can be flexible in details, and yet continue progress towards the ultimate destination.

12. Humor - Laughter and joy are signs that you are healthy and on your right path. The teams I want to work with are those full of humor, laughter and joy.

PS: I was unable to work the wonderful new word bafulates into this blog post, to my regret. Please accept my apologies.