Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Praise vs. Brown nosing

Like many IT sectors, in the game industry there are frequent periods of "crunch". During these times dinner is ordered and many stay late into the night. Tonight wasn't so bad with over 12 hours at work (minus 1 hour of playing "Heros Of Newerth" at lunch.) During a group dinner there was some chatter about a lead designer at Firaxis and I made comment how I admired his ability to take criticism without attacking the (sometimes rabid) colleague.

In the middle I was cut off and told, "Tronster stop brown-nosing he's not even here."

It was said half joking, but all half-jokes have (half-)truths. And now I've been pondering the difference between positive praise for colleagues vs superiors on the reporting chain.

From the various jobs I've had, it seems many people are content to be quiet until they are irritated or disappointed in someone else. The truly stellar manager's I've had, would be sure to raise praises of individuals on their team (to directors) when good deeds or accomplishments occurred.

While I passively witnessed this occurrence at jobs, it wasn't until I joined the Conference Associate (CA) program at GDC that I was made consciously aware of what was going on. It took 2-3 years of "bragging" about fellow CAs (a routine encouraged to get gold stars by each others names) before the concept solidified.

Now I look for opportunities to be sure to let others know the positive aspects of what's going on amongst my team and colleagues; I just need to be more careful to keep my praise curt when talking about those above me.

Social rules... one day I'll get them down.

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