Are You A Seagull Manager?

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Are you a seagull manager?
Photo courtesy of frankdouwes via Creative Commons

I had a chance encounter with a seagull a few years back. I was riding on a ferry boat between Lewes, Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey when a seagull did its business on me. Needless to say it was gross. I think the seagull is a nasty bird with a nasty habit and a nasty disposition. The term “seagull manager” has emerged to describe a manager who acts in a similar manner. In this post, we’ll describe the seagull manager and give you a self-assessment tool to see if you have those tendencies.

A seagull manager is characterized by their interaction with their team. The only time you hear from them is when there’s trouble. They fly in, poop all over everything, make a lot of noise, and leave their mess behind for everyone else to deal with. They are short on relationship and don’t want to be bothered unless you’ve got something for them. When they’re around, they are very critical of everyone and everything.

Ask yourself the following ten questions to see where you might fall on the seagull manager scale.

Does your team look forward to seeing you or do they avoid you?

Do you regularly communicate with your team or only in times of crisis?

Do you make yourself available to your team or is your policy “don’t call me, I’ll call you”?

Do you make regular time for one-on-one interaction with your team or is it all generalities with everyone?

Do you ask your team for their opinion and insight or is it your way or the highway?

Do you give your team the recognition and credit for their work or do you talk in terms of what you accomplished?

Do you know your team personally as individuals or are you just too busy for stuff like that?

Do you communicate with your team face to face or do they expect emails and texts from you?

Do your actions match your words or would your team say that you have a problem with integrity?

Do you focus on results only, or are the behaviors and processes more important?

Now that you’ve recorded your answers, pretend that your team was asked these same ten questions about you. If you believe that their answers might be different from yours, then perhaps you might be a seagull manager.

I won’t give you the right or wrong answers to these questions – that’s up to you to decide. If you’ll re-read the seagull manager description above I think you’ll get the picture. As a ScrumMaster or Product Owner on a Scrum Team, your team depends on you in a leadership or managerial role. If the only way you act with your team is as the seagull manager described above, then your team and your projects are suffering.

Do you feel as if you have the tendencies of a seagull manager? If so, let Braintrust Consulting help you correct those tendencies. With our comprehensive course selection, we train more high-quality ScrumMasters and Product Owners than anyone in the Southeast region. Leave the old you behind with some valuable training from BrainTrust! Click on the Contact page to hear from one of our product specialists. Or, head over to the Services tab to find out more about our offerings.