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Overall Rating: 4.6
Sam Barnes, the development team manager at Global Dev, was the deserving opening act of this year’s DPM:UK. Held in The Comedy Store in Manchester, the venue which never disappoints, Sam certainly stayed true to the venue by delivering a talk which was equally funny, entertaining, and resonating.
When asked which talk at DPM:UK I’d like to cover, of course, I had to choose Sam’s, simply based on the title ‘People are weird, I’m weird’. how could that title not intrigue anyone? Weird or not. And as my boss, Kevin, commented, it was the perfect talk for me.
So, title aside, what was the subject of Sam’s talk? It was a two-parter. The first half was focused on how to build an awesome team of people and keep them awesome. The second half, and my personal favourite half, was all about understanding the differences between introverts and extroverts.
In short, Sam’s answer was “don’t hire douchebags”. A statement which had the audience laughing, but a very true one nevertheless. Douchebags, no matter how talented, will cause damage to your team and bring the morale down. It isn’t worth it.
Once you’ve avoided the douchebags, you need to keep your awesome team happy. To keep a team happy, you make sure they bond, therefore ensuring they work well together. Bonding can range from silly games, to after work drinks. Now that the team are happy and bonded, you need to make sure they stay that way, and this is done through monitoring. The classic way of a 1-2-1 chat, or Sam’s chosen method of a happiness chart, is where each member of the team rates their happiness at the end of each day. It may sound like a primary school task, but a happy team produces better work.
For me, the highlight of the talk was Sam’s explanation of introverts and extroverts, and how to deal with both characters within a team. The subject of the differences between introversion and extroversion has always been a subject which intrigued me, so it’s safe to say I was delighted when we got onto this subject, particularly when we were shown examples of unexpected famous introverts.
Before he kicked off, Sam explained that even though he was on a stage in front of a large audience, he was in fact, an introvert. This is because even though he can handle public speaking, he recharges his batteries through alone time, something which I can fully relate to. Whereas extroverts are on the opposite end of the spectrum and thrive in a social environment.
Sam’s point was that introverts in the workplace are often held to the same expectations as extroverts, and therefore are often made to feel uncomfortable. It is a manager’s job to recognise this and to help keep their team happy.
My takeaway from this? As Sam explained, don’t use yourself as the benchmark for normal to judge others. Everyone is weird, because everyone is different, and that’s OK!
Sam deserves a quick ‘shout out’ for having more memes packed into his talk than Reddit itself. You’d be surprised on what a few well timed GIFs, clips, and funny images can do to grasp an audience’s interest and concentration. This, along with Sam’s quick tongue and subject matters, made his talk the best of the day. Quite honestly, I felt sorry for anyone who had to follow him on stage.
Sam’s talk inspired me to learn more about different personality traits and how they affect people. His book recommendation of Susan Cain’s ‘The Power of the Introvert’, was not wasted on me as I headed straight to Amazon to get a copy. So thanks, Sam!
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