Using Fear To Motivate Technical Writers

fear-of-success-fear-of-failure

I want you to think back to the best – and worst – boss you’ve ever had. Describe them in three words. Now, I want you to think of how his/her boss thought of this person. See any difference? One of the tricks on office politics is that what works for you is not acceptable for others. I’m mentoring some Technical Writers right now and each has their own style. But I have a problem. My best team leader is also the most obnoxious.

it starts in the schoolyard

We teach our kids to be respectable when in school. And we tell them to tear the opposition apart when they play sports. Mixed messages, anyone?

Getting the right balance between competition and aggression is very difficult. I see this with team leads who try to bully others into working harder (ironically, these targets are usually the workhorses) and with sales people who try to intimidate others into buying products.

where is Aggression Justified?

Doyle Slayton gives two tips to keep you winning. ‘Remember what makes you different and why is that better? And then create opportunity around your competitor’s weakness? ‘There is no room to be timid.  Be professionally aggressive and crush the competition!”

Now, this makes sense up to a point, but…

While it’s important to be aggressive in the pursuit of business (we all need to make a living, right?), I try to avoid using this technique. Aggressive types

  • Tend to intimidate others
  • Their energy tends to be negative
  • They alienate team members
  • They generate little trust
  • They Damage their own health and that of others

But it does have its place.

Look at some of the leading business leaders and you’ll see the words steel, tough, ruthless, hard and other adjectives used to define their winning management style.

So, it does seem to work at an executive level.

But, how about further down the food chain? Can you bully your staff and get away with it.

Maybe you can in the short-term but in time they will look for ways to undermine you. Then you’re in trouble as you’ve lost their trust and possibly your power base in the process.

Rather stay focused, know your enemy, and then use your charm… as aggressively as possible, of course.

What do you think?

But this brings me back to my problem. The best team leader is also the most obnoxious but the most effective. Her team – did you think it was a guy? – gets the projects finished faster than any other team. Even though she is younger, less qualified, and less popular. The next best person is good but lacks that… ‘killer instinct’.

How do you manage this, especially when you’re rewarded financially for how fast you can turn things around?

Download these templates to start

Acceptance Test Plan

Contingency Plan

Software Development Templates

Acquisition Plan

Conversion Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Action Plan

Cost Benefit Analysis

Software Testing

API Documentation

Database Design

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

Audience Analysis

Datasheet

Statement of Work

Availability Plan

Deployment Plan

System Administration Guide

Bill of Materials

Design Document

System Boundary

Business Case

Disaster Recovery Plan

System Design Document

Business Continuity

Disposition Plan

System Specifications

Business Plan

Documentation Plan

Technical Writing Templates

Business Process

Employee Handbook

Test Plan

Business Requirements

Error Message Guide

Training Plan

Business Rules

Expression of Interest

Transition Plan

Capacity Plan

Fact Sheet

Troubleshooting Guide

Case Study

Feasibility Study

Use Case

Change Management Plan

Functional Requirements

User Guide

Communication Plan

Grant Proposal

Verification and Validation Plan

Concept of Operations

Implementation Plan

White Papers

Concept Proposal

Installation Plan

Work Instructions

Configuration Management Plan

Interface Control Document

Software Development Templates

Acceptance Test Plan

Maintenance Plan

Software Requirements Specification

Acquisition Plan

Market Research

Software Testing

Action Plan

Marketing Plan

Standard Operating Procedures (SOP)

API Documentation

Needs Statement

Statement of Work

Audience Analysis

Operations Guide

System Administration Guide

Availability Plan

Policy Manual

System Boundary

Bill of Materials

Project Plan

System Design Document

Business Case

Proposal Manager Templates

System Specifications

Business Continuity

Proposal Template

Technical Writing Templates

Business Plan

Quality Assurance Plan

Test Plan

Business Process

Release Notes

Training Plan

Business Requirements

Request for Proposal

Transition Plan

Business Rules

Risk Management Plan

Troubleshooting Guide

Capacity Plan

Scope of Work

Use Case

Case Study

Security Plan

User Guide

Change Management Plan

Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Verification and Validation Plan

Communication Plan

Setup Guide

White Papers

Concept of Operations

Social Media Policy

Work Instructions

Concept Proposal

Contingency Plan

 

Configuration Management Plan

Conversion Plan