Category Archives: Management

Thoughts about management, especially w.r.t. software development in teams.

Why developers and meetings don’t go well together

Reason 1

Different people have different preferred modes of communication.
If they operate in their preferred mode, they are efficient and lose very little energy.
If they operate in a mode that’s not preferred, they are inefficient and they lose energy.

One of the dimensions of that is “recorded” versus “live” communication.
Software development is an extreme form of recorded communication.
Therefore, good software developers are usually not suited for meetings.
They’ll lose a lot of energy in meetings and it distracts them big time, even way before and after the meeting.

Also, recorded communicators need time to think before they say something.
So, developers often remain silent in meetings. (Which creates problems with energy feeding, see further below)

(Casual conversation at lunch or so is a different thing…)

Or software developers are actually live communicators, so they
have a very hard time to switch back to software development after a meeting
because the meeting is much more in their groove than software development.

Reason 2

Some developers are high empaths.
This may be a surprise, but it makes sense.

Here’s why:
High empaths pick up subtle energies and feelings of other people.
This creates a lot of information which can be quite overwhelming and stressful (also depending on what is received).
Therefore some empaths tend to chose work where they don’t have to deal with people all the time.
Software development fulfills that to some extent.

Meetings are often especially stressful for empaths because meetings tend

  • to get emotional
  • or feelings are covered (which is even more stressful energy than open communication)
  • or in extreme cases there is some form of manipulation going on
  • often there is energy feeding going on. Energy usually flows from the listener to the talker.

But even meetings in a positive, relaxed atmosphere can cause distraction later on.
After all, any form of emotional stuff (even positive) can distract from software development.

Reason 3

It happens quite often that managers require from developers in a meeting to
spontaneously give them answers that require extensive research (such as cost estimations for new requirements),
and insist on a spontaneous answer. (Which can only be given by lying, i.e., telling a random number)
This adds to the stress level.


If you want to destroy the productivity and motivation of your software developers, do as many meetings with them as possible.

The worst for productivity are daily meetings in the middle of the morning.
This is the worst because the morning is usually the most productive time,
and software development requires highly focused attention for long time-spans without interruption and distraction.

Personal note

Personally, I like the human connection in meetings (if there’s a good atmosphere).
But I don’t like the energy feeding and that I don’t have time and solitude to think or to listen to my intuition or to my inner wisdom before I say something.

Kolbe Test as Burnout Prevention Tool

The Kolbe test is primarily used as a hiring and team-building tool.
It measures the mode of operation of a person, which is the instinctive and natural way to do work (such as getting new ideas versus implementing existing ideas).

In team-building it is important to have people with different modes of operation in a team. This ensures that the team members complement each other, so that the team is optimally effective.

In hiring it is used to determine the roles which a person is best suited to.

But there is an aspect of Kolbe that’s equally as important:
One of the often overlooked aspects of the Kolbe mode-of-operation is that it costs a person a lot of energy to work outside his/her natural work instincts.
Often people are not aware of their natural instincts. So they just assume that it is normal that work exhausts them. After all that’s conventional wisdom about work in our society.

Especially young people have so much life-energy that they can work against their natural instincts for years in a row, without noticing it. And they even may produce great results doing so.

But when a person works against their natural mode of operation for too long, he/she drains him/herself of energy. This can lead to burnout or other severe health problems.

Of course burnout can have many causes, and most of the time multiple causes are at work simultaneously. Usually, working conditions, and mental health issues of that person are the first reasons that are named. Prevention usually focuses on working conditions. This is fine, and necessary, but it is only a part of the picture.

If people are unconsciously working against their natural instincts for a prolonged time, then even the best working conditions cannot prevent a serious drain of energy.

Therefore I suggest to measure the natural mode of operation of all employees, and let them work in their mode of operation most of the time. Even one hour per day in the opposite of the natural mode of operation can cause a severe energy drain. So, you need to let them work 95% or more of their time in their natural mode of operation.

If an employee already has a burnout, or is close to it, then doing a Kolbe test can reveal an important cause. Once you know the cause, it is usually obvious what has to change.

BTW, this does not only apply to employees. Entrepreneurs also should be aware of their natural mode of operation and make sure that they run their company such that they only work in their natural mode of operation. They can delegate the rest, or choose a business that only needs their natural mode of operation. This makes them more happy and energetic, and the grumpy boss syndrome will melt away fast. Which creates a better climate in the whole company.