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Posted on: Sunday, July 24, 2011

After countless days of slogging J's team ships the build. In a few minutes of sending the email out they receive this response from their manager:

"The release notes had lots of typos. I had to fix those before sending the build out to the client. We need to be careful about running a spell-check before sending out project documentation."

When your team slogs for days shipping a build and all you can see are typos in the release notes you my friend are acting like a fully qualified asshole.

Here's a free advice if you want to get better at working with geeks: Open Microsoft word, fix the damn typos, don't bitch about them, thank the team for their hard work and move on.

Most managers cannot resist the temptation of whining about small mistakes which they can easily fix themselves in no time.

Reasons why most managers say they "have to" whine:

  1. People need to know about these mistakes so that they don't make them the next time.
  2. People need to be trained so that they don't always depend on the manager to do last minute fixes.

Reasons why most managers really whine:

  1. Managers are inherently good at advertising work. That is a huge part of what they do for a living. When it's their own work, expect the advertisement to be louder than ever.
  2. Most managers have a complex about not being productive enough OR not contributing enough. "I was able to find an issue and fix it! MYSELF! I finally showed those pesky developers that even I can contribute!" – this opportunity is often too tempting for most managers to let go.

Success breeds success and while it is OK to point out mistakes objectively, when you give out the vibe that says "you have failed me but that’s okay, I fixed it anyway" on every small mistake your team makes, you are diminishing their chances of success in the long run.

Acknowledge success, stop discouraging people by focusing on their mistakes and start motivating them by focusing on their success.  Even if you had to fix their mistakes or provide cover fire to a team worthy of it, in most cases, they really don’t need to know about it. So stop bitching and do a little bit of clean up yourself.

Just saying.