You are largely accountable for frustration experienced at work 

Frustration happens often with any kind of projects that involve team collaboration. 

Junior members may feel they are given unreasonable deadlines and have multiple directions that could change along the course. Managers often get frustrated when they have to spend a lot of time revising the work of their subordinates who don’t seem to have grasped the feedback earlier or didn’t pay enough attention to details.

Whether you are managing up or down, a common source of frustration and team inefficiency comes from a lack of transparency. With different levels of exposure to information pertinent to the project and the end goal, it’s easy to blame others for not understanding your side of the story whether it’s other priorities at hand, lack of certain supporting resources, the change with directoon or pressure from higher ups. 

Instead of complaining or withdrawing from communication, one needs to adopt the sense of ownership and leadership, and hold oneself accountable for more transparency across the team to help strengthen the team efficiencies.

As a junior member, you should clearly lay out your tasks at the moment and check with your managers to align on priorities. If it’s a somewhat lengthy project, depending on your managers’ style, you should provide regular progress check-in to check with your manager if you are on the right track so you will never produce anything that still needs a lot patches right before the deadline. You should also be willing to go an extra mile to think about how to create the most presentable results.

As a manager, you need to plan in advance whenever possible so your team are not always stressed with last minute tasks. You should also be able to provide clear directions in plain language with process docs if applicable so others are able to grasp easily. You need to map out the direction in advance prior to team meetings so you don’t waste others’ time thinking out loud. If you consider all facets up front, it’s also less likely to encounter redundant work that changing the course of direction often entails.

These are my thoughts from daily team collaboration. Would be happy to hear yours! 

Is happiness overrated?

A great quote in the book The Art of Work


Human beings, he argued, are not hard wired for seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. They want meaning. In spite of what we say, we don’t want happiness. It’s simple not enough to satisfy out deepest longings. We are looking for something more, something transcendent – a reason to be happy. 

If you are not happy with your job, simply ask yourself these 3 questions

Most people are clear on the answer to question 1. Some can articulate clearly on question 2 and these are people who can shine in interviews if they decide to change jobs. A lot of people are at a loss with question 3.

Unless you have a clear answer to all 3 questions, you will not be truly happy with your job. 

1. What do you do? What do you enjoy and not enjoy?

2. How do you do it? What makes you good at it?

3. Why do you do it? What’s the ultimate purpose/meaning behind it? How is it serving your personal values and goals?

The Netflix of Books – Oyster

It offers more than 1 million books and the monthly fee to access these books is at $9.95. Why is it a threat to Amazon kindle unlimited (same monthly price)? Oyster has books from the five big publishers while Amazon doesn’t. Now Oyster is offering ebooks for sale, which clashed head-on with Amazon.

If you are interested to learn more, you can read the article on Oyster on Wired. You can also download the app and have a free 3-day trail to explore the book database. 

Do you like Oyster? What are some of your favorite books there?

It’s really hard to be a good manager

I came across this piece on Fast Company and I can’t agree more with it. 

The article features a new report from Gallup based on extensive rolling which reveals that only 10% of managers have what it takes to be a great manager.

Great managers are defined by their abilities to motivate employees, assert themselves to overcome obstacles, create a culture of accountability, build trusting relationships and make informed, unbiased decisions for the good of the team and the companies.

All of these are so true but rare to find and hard to achieve. I think about team management from time to time. But a lot of times when faced with deadlines and stress, I will usually turn to only the most efficient people in the team or simple do it myself without giving enough opportunities to others. Although I try different ways to motivate people, when things move fast, I will cut down the training time first. 

Becoming a good manger takes not only professional expertise, but also tremendous drive, perseverance, thoughtfulness and wisdom. I am still struggling with my own expectation of the role and the vision for the future, and will continue to work on the practice. 

What have you noticed in common among great managers?

You are not alone

What it all boils down to: Battle against the voice of treason

We all have negative voices inside telling us we can’t achieve whatever we’ve set out to do. Aasif refers to this as the voice of treason, “and to do battle against that voice, is in many ways what life is all about.” Aasif believes, while it never fully leaves you, over time the voice of treason will help you become your greater self.

The above is comforting. People don’t often share their struggles so you might feel some problems are unique only to you. However, in most cases, you are not alone. Many of your problems are shared by a lot of others. Knowing that, does it make it easier for you to fight your battles?