Bring it. All of it.

The best teams are fuelled on emotion. It’s true in every team, no matter what the focus. Without an investment of emotion, even the greatest victory can be hollow.

Thankfully, in the sustained pursuit of group achievement, it’s rare that teammates are able to abstain from sharing a real emotional connectedness. When the stakes are high and the goal is worthy, then the struggle alone elicits, demands it. Without emotion, it’s just too hard to do what will be required to succeed.

If you don’t feel like you can be emotionally open with your colleagues, . . . .

My next line was going to be “then you need to get there”. But of course you don’t. You don’t have to do anything! I’d just encourage you to try. It’s what will make your working life more than a pay-cheque and a place to go.

Jim and Michele McCarthy (In Software for your head) believe that barefaced emotion is essential in development teams, that is if the product is going to be worth anything all.

“Institutions that depend on teams to think and create are plagued by a lack of personal presence. This problem is in part maintained by an ongoing cultural belief—namely, that “work lives” and “personal lives” are and should remain separate. Loosely stated, this widely held belief holds that you show your “true” self at home, but demonstrate another persona at work. This dichotomy—so goes the belief—is the “professional” way to behave. One problem with such a belief is that intellectual property is drawn from the human intellect. A given team member’s intellect will manifest itself only to the degree that its owner is genuinely present. Human presence contains feelings.”

That’s not subtle. Everyone give of your true self, represent honestly or we risk failure.

For me, it’s the greatest attraction in the development of an agile mindset. What we call “agile” nods to the idea that “individuals and interactions” are to be valued. They’re essential to our chances of success, and more important than cold efficiency (“processes and tools”). Our community shares ideas about planning and technical practices, but balances such talk with the insistence that whatever techniques we use, they’re only part of the picture. The people, the journey are important too.

It’s harder. It’s more dangerous. It means bringing all of yourself to the office and sharing that with those you come in contact with. It means that sometimes your job will hurt, just like a family can. Here’s the kicker though.

The Return is greater than the Risk. 

The roller coaster of an emotional commitment to your team is the best ride in the park. The highs are more thrilling than the lows are frightening. Your job is going to take up a lot of your time. You owe it to yourself to make it meaningful.

“So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

Mitch Albom in Tuesdays with Morrie



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