Summary of “Toxic management cost an award-winning game studio its best developers”

In 2012, on a light-drenched stage amid screams and cheers, Star Trek actress Zoe Saldana announced Spike Video Game Awards’ game of the year: The Walking Dead. The win was a huge coup for its relatively small developer, Telltale Games.
At the time, Telltale was a studio of under 100 people, small by mainstream studio standards where headcounts can range from hundreds to thousands.
Although some of the problems were specific to Telltale and its management, many of the developer’s troubles were emblematic of the unsustainable and erratic development practices that plague the video game industry at large.
“We went from a small and scrappy team to kind of a giant studio full of 300-plus people,” says former Telltale programmer and designer Andrew Langley, who worked at the studio from 2008 to 2015.
In addition to building Telltale’s primary game development tool, he had a knack for spotting moments in game projects where players lost a sense of agency.
After The Walking Dead, to describe one Telltale game was to describe all of them: an episodic adventure game that unfolded across sequentially released episodes, where players make difficult choices with emotional consequences.
Every source The Verge spoke to hailed Telltale as a studio full of some of the most talented, creative developers they’ve had the chance to work for.
Six years after the first episode’s release, the fourth season of the game that helped define the best and worst of the studio will mark the end of an era – and perhaps the beginning of a new one.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Google Wanted to Know What Makes a Manager Great, So It Conducted a Study. Here Are the Results”

It’s giving you a glimpse inside its robust research on what makes a great manager.
It’s no secret that being a good manager can make all the difference in how happy your team is and how well it performs.
Communicating effectively is one of the basics of being a good manager.
Stephanie Davis, who won one of Google’s Great Manager Awards, told HBR that feedback reports helped her realize how important it was to communicate team vision in addition to company vision.
“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” he said.
So all hope isn’t lost if you find yourself managing people who know more than you.
Google’s last addition is a reminder that while it’s important for a manager to listen and share information, employees also appreciate one who can make decisions.
One of the reasons this research was so effective was that it used internal data to prove what makes managers great at Google.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Swedish CEO Who Runs His Company Like a CrossFit Gym”

As a hard-working employee, you will be measured by and rewarded for the long hours you put in at the office and the gym.
He’s the CEO and self-titled “Head Coach” of Björn Borg, the Swedish sports fashion company named after the tennis star.
Last fall, we joined Bunge and his employees for “Sports hour,” a mandatory fitness class for all employees every Friday between 11 and noon.
Intrigued by our lunch meeting with Bunge, one of us embarked on an ethnographic study of the company which has now lasted for over a year.
At Björn Borg, their key performance indicators have improved after Bunge was brought in as CEO: net sales increased by 27% between 2013 and 2016, and operating profits tripled.
During 2016, employee engagement increased by 3%, to 75%. Bunge also points out that investments in general health and work-life balance, including workshops on stress management and sleep, have made a positive impact on the lives of his employees.
While the CEO takes pride in these figures and workplace changes, they will still need to grow sales by another 56% and boost employee engagement by another 15% in three years if they are to reach their 2019 goals.
A number of employees have also made comments about staff turnover: according to figures provided by the company, the employee exit rate as a whole increased from 8% to 25% between 2014 and 2016.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 12 Signs: How to know when you’re slowly but surely becoming a bad manager”

A sinking feeling hits you: You might be becoming a bad manager.
I recognized the early signs of a bad manager - the kind of manager I dreaded working for.
Don’t fall into the trap of assuming that employees “Should already know that.” Instead, consider why your team doesn’t have the information they need, and own that shortcoming yourself.
Good leaders know it’s on themselves to make sure the team knows what they need to know.
Your reluctance to hand things off to your team is a telling sign that you’re slipping into becoming a bad manager.
Sign #12: You spend more time thinking about trying to eliminate distractions in the workplace than trying to give people a reason to feel excited about coming to work.
As a manager, it’s tempting to focus on what your team should stop doing.
Instead of being preoccupied with how long your team’s coffee breaks are, consider, have you made it clear how their work is connected to the bigger picture?

The orginal article.

Summary of “When Empowering Employees Works, and When It Doesn’t”

Second, by empowering their employees, these leaders are also more likely to be trusted by their subordinates, compared to leaders who do not empower their employees.
Third, leaders who empowered employees were more effective at influencing employee performance in Eastern, compared to Western, cultures, and they had a more positive impact on employees who had less experience working in their organizations.
One study in our analysis found that by trying to provide employees with additional responsibility and challenges at work, empowering leaders burdened their employees and increased their level of job stress.
Our results again showed that the effects of leading by empowering others are determined by how employees perceive their leader’s behavior.
To our surprise, we found that leaders who were perceived as empowering by employees in companies located in Eastern cultures had a bigger effect on routine performance than leaders in Western cultures.
We found that empowering leadership had a stronger positive influence on the day-to-day performance of employees who had less experience in the organization compared to employees who had been in their jobs for longer.
In other words, empowering leaders saw greater improvements in job performance among less experienced employees than among more experienced employees.
Longitudinal studies were very rare and thus we could not determine causality – our correlations do not confirm whether empowering leadership caused increases in employee performance or whether employees who performed better were more likely to be given additional responsibility and empowered by their leaders.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Productivity Paradox-Why Doing More Doesn’t Get More Done”

70% of employees say they spend more than 40 hours per week at work, which would be great if they were actively trying to get ahead, but almost half say they’re just trying to get caught up with tasks they weren’t able to finish in their eight-hour day.
Employees will start feeling stressed, which leads to a myriad of personal problems, but the organization also suffers in terms of productivity and worse-if things get too bad, employees will begin looking for other greener pastures.
If it’s so easy to understand that overworking ourselves and our employees is so bad, why do we do it? Because things need to get done!
As we mentioned in the introduction, technology is supposed to make office workers more productive.
According to the Boston Consulting Group, in 2014 in the US, 51% of employees reported being disengaged, while 18% said they were “Actively disengaged.” How terrifying is that-half of employees don’t care what happens at work, and nearly 20% are sabotaging or stealing from their employers.
In essence, the tools that we bought to help make employees more productive have had the opposite effect while adding stress.
Ask yourself which employees are doing those tasks, and are there any ways for them to do the tasks better or faster.
The idea of giving employees more autonomy may feel a little scary at first, but it’s likely the key to increased productivity and decreased stress levels and burnout.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks Sexual Misconduct Scandal”

Mavs owner Mark Cuban was not linked with sexual harassment himself, but the NBA’s most visible owner finds himself under fire for allowing his employees to behave in such a manner.
Cuban said he delegated oversight of the business side of the team and its employees to Ussery and Pittman, telling ESPN’s Tim MacMahon that he was “Rarely present at the Mavs’ business office.” The day before the story ran, Cuban fired Pittman; he fired Sneed the next day.
The work environment fostered under Cuban pushed women out of the industry, an anonymous former Mavericks or United Airlines Center employee told SI. “You don’t feel safe going to work and it’s not long before you look for another job,” said the woman, who now works in a different sector.
Cuban is an avowed fan of Ayn Rand’s 1943 novel The Fountainhead; there was even a rumor that he owned a 288-foot yacht named after the book, though Cuban eventually dispelled that.
As Mavericks owner, Cuban hasn’t been content to sit in a luxury box, cash the checks, and be called “Mister” by reporters.
When the Mavericks won the title in 2011, Cuban went out and partied with the players.
Multiple women say that Ussery and Sneed preyed on Mavericks employees under Cuban’s ultimate supervision.
Maybe Cuban didn’t realize his disdain for tradition undermined the very HR protocols - former Mavs employees told Sports Illustrated the “Team’s HR office [was] part of the problem” - that could have allowed his female employees to do their jobs safely.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Parts of Customer Service That Should Never Be Automated”

Digital imaging technology monitors which items shoppers select from shelves, and when a customer leaves the store, the person’s online account is automatically charged.
Managers using these forms of automation and others cite customer satisfaction benefits from increased convenience and customization, and from giving customers more control over their own experiences.
Advances in technology like Amazon Go make the customer’s role objectively easier, but automated solutions may also give us the impression that the company is expending less effort on our behalf, which can make us wonder what, exactly, we’re paying for.
Making the pivot to a person simple allows customers and companies alike to achieve the convenience and efficiency benefits of automated service, while ensuring the customer feels supported.
Existing solutions don’t yet meet the mark, prompting leaders of one rapidly growing coffee chain to delay the introduction of an automated point of sale system, finding it undermined the connection they wanted to make with their customers.
Service can be more efficient and satisfying when customers and employees are visible to one another.
Engage customers in ways that won’t make human service providers cringe.
Remember: the devil’s in the details of service design, but the best uses of technology are likely to make customers and employees feel more, rather than less, valuable to your organization.

The orginal article.

Summary of “5 Rare Signs That Prove You Were Meant to Lead People”

If not, this is the standard to shoot for, whether you’re looking to develop yourself as a leader or looking to hire people with the capacity to transform the workplace.
You involve all kinds of people and make them feel psychologically safe.
Good leaders aim to create a diverse environment of people with differing ways of doing things and viewing the world; they pump fear out of the room and allow for risks to be taken; and they let people feel safe to exercise their creativity, communicate their ideas openly, and provide input to major decisions.
Is it a natural tendency of yours to want to help others – to alleviate people’s suffering? While empathetic people have this ability to feel what others feel, compassion is a more objective form of empathy.
People don’t stress around you and teamwork isn’t undermined because you share information and let everyone know what’s going on at all times.
You understand human motivation and what makes people tick.
Perhaps someone has told you that you’re really good at getting people to go above and beyond.
You’ll find the best of leaders have a good understanding of human behavior, and what inspires people to perform their jobs at a high level.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How a rock star of Iranian digital activism built a culture of misogyny and fear”

ASL19 founder Ali Karimzadeh Bangi, one of the leading lights of the expat Iranian digital rights community, appeared in court on charges of sexual assault and forcible imprisonment.
For years, Bangi had been the public face of the Iran Cyber Dialogue Conference, a major conference dedicated to digital freedom and the promotion of human rights in Iran.
It’s still unclear how often that behavior bordered on assault, but even where it stopped short, employees say Bangi fostered a hostile and sometimes even abusive workplace.
Bangi’s connections at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs gave him an early line on government-funded projects like the multimillion-dollar Digital Public Square initiative, which funded digital tools for political opposition groups around the world.
A fixture at conferences and digital rights events, Bangi was charismatic, generous with his time, and eager to connect people in the community.
Former employees say that the rock star attitude came with an aggressive and unpredictable streak.
“Immediately upon learning about the court appearance, we met with Mr. Bangi about the accusations which gave rise to the charge,” the statement read. “At the conclusion of that meeting, Mr. Bangi resigned from ASL19.” The statement was signed by Anna May and Fereidoon Bashar, who took over directorship of the company.
Reached by The Verge, Feri and Anna referred us to a recent statement on the company blog, reflecting on Bangi’s departure and announcing a new partnership with a group called Coda Societies to improve company culture.

The orginal article.