Michael Kloss isa partner at IT consultancy Conciso GmbH and thus also a founding member ofID37 Company. As an agile coach, he also helps teams introduce agile working methods. Before joining Conciso, the computer scientist was entrusted with various agile management roles. As a result, he is very familiar with the conditions needed for effective team management in new working environments.Part 1 of the interview:
Agility is an attitude and involves a new way of organizing work. Having direct contact with the client and engaging in rapid learning so that the entire organization can remain flexible is the main focus here. This mindset has a direct impact on teamwork and the job of management: The manager is the so-called Servant Leader. As a service provider for employees, the Servant Leader creates the framework conditions that enable co-workers to optimally develop their potential. No two employees are the same, and everyone needs something different. As a serving executive, it is my job to recognize these differences, to provide what’s necessary and do everything possible to enable every employee to do their job as best they can and to develop themselves.
As an agile coach, I help teams continue the process of self-improvement, I help them self-reflect and act on the lessons learned. As a manager, I’m there to support the employees, not give them instructions. Both roles require that I know myself very well and that I understand how I affect other people. The first and most important thing is therefore: I need to start with me. My work requires working with people on a day-to-day basis, which involves understanding them and reflecting on them as well as on myself and the situations I experience. It is therefor important that I am able to filter which points of view and assumptions are based on my own perception.
ID37 helps me remain aware of myself and my own perception filters, and it helps me get a good sense of what makes individual employees tick – and quickly. When I know who I am, I can appreciate more profoundly how others differ from me and how we are similar. Having the opportunity to look at a situation through the eyes of another helps me every day with advising and getting to the heart of a matter. This opens many doors and allows us to replace an otherwise ominous gut feeling with a language and dialogue that brings us to our goal faster.
This is particularly exciting in teams, because I can discover many sides within a group. The work I’ve done using ID37 in teams shows that the basic tolerance found among team members grows when we’ve conducted a team analysis beforehand and work openly with the findings. The advantage is obvious: Everyone knows that everyone has their “blind spots” – they deal with them more consciously, which reduces unnecessary friction. This also applies to dealing with experts or customers: In these cases, a person can get advice from team members with a different motivational landscape and who may be able to understand emotionally a situation better. In the IT world, the value attached to communication and an open approach to emotions is quite new. As our lives become increasingly digitalized, the tasks and challenges we face are becoming more and more complex and thus require greater coordination and joint action. The extent to which a team works well together is very often crucial to a product’s success on the market and is therefore also very important to many companies. This does not mean that tools like ID37 are immediately embraced. My experience, however, is that people open up more and more as soon as they have experienced the added value, that is, when they find it easier to communicate and feel understood.
In the second part of the interview, things gets a little more personal. Among other things, Michael reveals how he manages to be a role model as a manager, even when he’s annoyed.