Could Daydreaming Be A Problem For Your Team?

by drjim on December 14, 2017

Some daydreaming is ok, but can there be too much?

Some daydreaming is ok, but can there be too much?
Image Credit:
Craig Sunter

As an IT manager it is your responsibility to use your IT manager skills to make sure that your team is able to operate at their highest level. This comes down to you doing a number of different things. The first, and perhaps most important, is making sure that everyone comes to work each day. Next, you are going to want to make sure that while they are at work they are delivering productive work and engaging in IT team building. This is where things can start to get a bit tricky. Is it possible that some members of your team spend too much time daydreaming?

What Is Daydreaming?

Perhaps a good place to start this discussion is to make sure that we all have the same understanding of just exactly what daydreaming is. According to Wikipedia, daydreaming is a short-term detachment from one’s immediate surroundings, during which a person’s contact with reality is blurred and partially substituted by a visionary fantasy, especially one of happy, pleasant thoughts, hopes or ambitions, imagined as coming to pass, and experienced while awake. We like it when we daydream – it’s something pleasant to do that allows us to pass the time. I’d be willing to bet that most if not all of the members of your team spend at least a small portion of each of their days while in the office daydreaming.

However, as with all such things in life, it is possible to do too much daydreaming. There are some team members who may spend so much time daydreaming that it starts to have an impact on their daily functioning. When this is happening, the team member is immersing themselves into a vivid alternative universe which they prefer to reality.

There is even a medical term for people who daydream too much: maladaptive daydreamers. Just how much daydreaming does this group do? In one study they were shown to spend 57% of their waking time daydreaming. This was in comparison to a control group that only spent 16% of their time daydreaming. The maladaptive daydreamers were found to have more fanciful and elaborate daydreams.

What Happens When We Daydream Too Much?

The difference between a normal person and a maladaptive daydreamer is that a normal person has moments of mind-wandering. However, these moments don’t cause any distress or provide any real pleasure. People who suffer from maladaptive daydreaming do have the ability to tell the difference between their fantasy world and reality. These people do have control over when they daydream; however, it can easily evolve into an addictive habit.

A team member’s background may contribute to them becoming a maladaptive daydreamer. Roughly 25% of the maladaptive daydreamers are trauma survivors. Often times these people are both shy and socially isolated. They report that they had family members who a propensity to daydream.

One important point for IT managers to realize is that frequent mind wandering can be a sign of other conditions. These conditions include attention-deficient disorders and depression. Maladaptive daydreamers report that their activity interfered with their daily life. A large number of them use kinesthetic activity or movement when daydreaming such as spinning, pacing, or rocking.

What All Of This Means For You

One of the jobs that you have as an IT manager is to use your IT manager training to get the highest level of productivity out of your team as you possibly can. Once they are in the office, you need them to focus on completing the tasks that you have assigned to them. Where things can start to get tricky is when members of your team start to daydream. Some of this is normal – everyone does it. However, some members of your team may spend too much time daydreaming.

There is a medical term for people who spend too much time during the day daydreaming: maladaptive daydreamers. These people can spend up to half of their day lost in vivid daydreams. This can start to have an impact on their lives and what they are able to accomplish during a given day. IT managers need to be aware that what appears to be daydreaming could be signs of other types of disorders.

One of the most important parts about being an IT manager is that we have to be aware. We need to keep an eye on each member of our team in order to determine if they are able to complete the work that we have assigned to them. If we detect that a member of our team is daydreaming too much, we are going to have to pull them aside and have a talk with them. We need to realize that this may be something that they have very little control over and they may need to seek professional advice in order to regain control over their day.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that some daydreaming can help a member of your team be more productive?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

The job of an IT manager is to use their IT manager skills to manage their IT team. There are a lot of different parts to this job; however, one key one is the management of the IT team staff. As we all know, this can be a tricky thing to do well and it can end up taking up a lot of our time in part because most of use really don’t have any IT manager training on how to do this. However, maybe there’s a different way to go about running an IT team. What if IT manager’s didn’t have to manage anyone?

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The Problem With “Prisoner” Team Members

by drjim on December 7, 2017

Prisoner team members just won't move on

Prisoner team members just won’t move on
Image Credit:
Nyall & Maryanne

As an IT manager it is your responsibility to manage the various members of your team. Our IT manager training has taught us that we need to get to know each of them, understand what they are hoping to accomplish, and then provide them with challenging assignments that will help them to grow their skills. This is all fine and good as long as this is what your team members want. However, it turns out that there are some team members who are not looking for what you have to offer. We call these team members “prisoners”.

What Is A Prisoner?

The good news for you as an IT manager is that not all of your team members consider themselves to be prisoners. Only about 8% see themselves this way. Just exactly what is a workplace prisoner? It’s somebody who stays at their job even though they feel unmotivated, disengaged, and more often than not have a negative impression about the company that they work for.

The good news for you, if indeed there is any good news to be had here, is that more often than not prisoner workers don’t stick around. They realize that they are unhappy and so they start to look for their next job and eventually move on. This is what results in healthy turnover in most teams.

However, that is not the case for all of your prisoner workers. There are some that stay. When they do this, they end up impeding progress. Bad news for you is that team members who have been there the longest are the most likely to fit the prisoner mold. Studies have shown that among team members who have been with the company for 26 years or longer, 17.1% are prisoners.

What Can An IT Manager Do About A Prisoner Team Member?

As an IT manager you clearly have a problem here. What you need is for everyone who is on your team to be working at full speed. If you have a collection of team members who feel like they are prisoners then they are not going to be motivated and they are going to end up holding the entire team back.

One interesting observation that has been made is that we can tell who the most likely candidates for being prisoners are. They are our long-term team members. What makes this all the more surprising is that we are probably paying them the most also. What this means for us is that the greatest cost for running our teams may also be creating the greatest drag on the team and may be holding everyone else back.

So what’s an IT manager to do? The first thing that you are going to have to do is to identify the prisoners on your team. Take a careful look at everyone on the team and pay special attention to your senior members. Once you have identified the ones who are just participating and not leading, you are going to have to take action. You’ll need to have a talk with them and explain that they are holding the team back from being able to achieve its goals. You’ll need to ask them to shape up or move on.

What All Of This Means For You

Managing a team of technical professionals is never an easy task no matter how much IT team building you do. As IT managers we are in charge of a team and we need to ensure that everyone on that team is helping the team to move forward and achieve the goals that we’ve laid out them. However, it turns out that some of your team members may be unmotivated prisoners.

A prisoner is a team member who stays at their job even though they feel unmotivated and disengaged. These workers tend to be the more senior workers on your team who also happen to be among your most highly paid workers. You are going to have to first identify them, and then you’ll have to sit down with them and ask them to change or move on.

Realizing that everyone on your team is different is one of our critical IT manager skills. We need to be able to identify those team members who are not pulling their own weight and then step in and take action. Be a good IT manager and set all of your team’s prisoners free!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if one of your prisoner team members doesn’t get the hint and change their ways?

Click here to get automatic updates when The Accidental IT Leader Blog is updated.

P.S.: Free subscriptions to The Accidental IT Leader Newsletter are now available. Learn what you need to know to do the job. Subscribe now: Click Here!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

As an IT manager it is your responsibility to use your IT manager skills to make sure that your team is able to operate at their highest level. This comes down to you doing a number of different things. The first, and perhaps most important, is making sure that everyone comes to work each day. Next, you are going to want to make sure that while they are at work they are delivering productive work and engaging in IT team building. This is where things can start to get a bit tricky. Is it possible that some members of your team spend too much time daydreaming?

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