Guruing By Walking Around

This is just a "take off" on the popular phrase of ManagementByWalkingAround (MBWA).

GuruingByWalkingAround is similar in many respects, but you aren't "managing" so much as you are "mentoring". It's hands-on teaching and learning, with frequent two-way dialogue (rather than lecturing).

Clear up blocks of time where you can walk around the hallways, being sociable and saying "hello" to people. Don't start-off by thrusting your superior knowledge and expertise upon them. You can come off as too cocky and arrogant. Try to be helpful rather than forceful. If you manage to bring the conversation toward some problem they are having, take a look at and offer some possible suggestions and solutions (don't offer "the solution" - cocky and arrogant again ;-)

You have to be careful not to come off as the grand wizard who is being so gracious as to bother assisting the helpless peons who know nothing compared to you. You don't necessarily have to wait to offer help until you are asked, but you probably do need to wait until they start complaining about a problem.

Keep your door open (unless you have a cubicle ;-) and when you hear a coworker complain, saunter by and see if you can help them investigate. Make sure that when lending suggestions and advice that your purpose is to ExpressDontImpress?! Be patient with newbies and do some hand-holding if necessary. And always try to share your knowledge rather than force-feeding it to others.

After a while, you'll find that people will saunter over to you when they can use some assistance. Or that when you saunter by their office, they are eager to have you look at something with them (not "for" but "with").

You will be soon busier mentoring than coding and designing, so you have to be prepared for that, and the time it will consume. But the experience is very rewarding IMHO (even if the rewards are more intrinsic than extrinsic) and you will soon find that not only are you increasing the knowledge-level of the entire group, you are improving teamwork, collaboration, creativity and team spirit.

As people get more knowledgeable they won't need to seek you out as much. They'll still come by, but the conversations will be shorter. And you will have cultivated an environment in which they are also willing to share some of the mentoring load with the newbies. So not only have you helped create a CultureOfLearning?, but a CultureOfMentoring? as well!

Of course inept managers can kill something like this very quickly. So you have to get a feel for whether it will be receptive to this kind of informal teaching environment, and of the initial drain on your personal productivity while helping others get over the learning curve.
Moved from GuruingByScooteringAround

My department recently bought four or five of those Razor scooters, so now instead of GuruingByWalkingAround I'm GuruingByScooteringAround?. Sadly, we were told not to take the scooters off the floor, so I can't scooter to the meetings in the other building, when I really need it. -- StevenNewton

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